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Opinion: Now it’s time for action

If last year was dominated by planning and reform, then the year ahead is all about delivery for community pharmacy, says NPA chair Nick Kaye.

In 2023 a lot of energy and time was spent on, for example, the evolution of PSNC into Community Pharmacy England. 

In 2024 everyone is rightly focused on delivering an excellent Pharmacy First service and the expanded contraception and blood pressure services. It is vital that we succeed – both for patients and for the sake of securing future investment for community pharmacy.

The backdrop of underfunding for the core contract and ongoing workforce pressures makes this a huge challenge. However, everyone will benefit if this strategically important service is implemented effectively – pharmacy teams, the NHS as a whole and the general public, whose day-to-day experience of their healthcare will be significantly enhanced. 

Years of lobbying

Pharmacy First is the result of years of lobbying by the NPA and other bodies. Now that we are approaching the moment of truth when the service will become available to patients across England, the NPA has leaned into delivery mode.  

We are supporting our members in so many practical ways. NPA Insurance will indemnify NPA members and professional indemnity and legal defence policy holders delivering Pharmacy First for no extra charge. Standard operating procedures covering all three elements of the service.

An action plan and summary of the drug treatments that can be supplied under the PGDs. Red flag and self-care crib sheets. Training in the use of otoscopes and member rates for purchasing devices that meet NHS England’s required specification... the list goes on.  

Importantly, we are also educating patient groups and GPs about the service. Once again we will be at the Primary Care Best Practice conference, targeting an audience of healthcare professionals and NHS managers.

Media success

The NPA was heavily involved in the making of ITV Tonight’s programme about the financial plight of community pharmacies in England, which aired earlier this month.

The media has enormous power to shape opinion in politics but also among the millions of people we serve. That’s why the NPA is constantly active on TV, radio, in newspapers and online to promote the value of community pharmacy.

We are inviting all NPA members and allies to become involved in the NPA’s media activities, to share your practice with your peers through case studies of exemplary patient-centred healthcare and professional care, or to highlight the frontline consequences of chronic underfunding in our sector. Contact our press team by emailing and get involved.

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