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We need a unity in a competitive marketplace

The national pharmacy bodies are developing a united campaign for fair NHS funding for pharmacies in England, says director of corporate affairs, Gareth Jones

The starting point has been a series of open letters to senior ministers, co-signed by representatives from across the sector, including the NPA.

Unity was also a watchword of this month’s announcement by the UK Commission on Pharmacy Professional Leadership, which states that the NHS, Government and patients depend on the healthcare professions to provide a co-ordinated voice.

On the other hand, there’s no escaping the fact that, on a day-to-day level, individual pharmacy businesses operate in a competitive market, vying for prescriptions and service income.

Competitive edge

That’s why the NPA has teamed up with 50 trusted partners to offer a variety of products to help our members get a competitive edge. One is Local Market Insights. LMI is a well-established service available at a minimal – and significantly discounted – rate to NPA members.  

It shows you how your local marketplace is performing and how you compare within your area, providing the insight to make decisions about where you could focus and drive further improvements across delivery of key services – and by doing so grow market share. 

Subscribers in England will also receive a weekly nominations report, which summarises total and weekly variations across the latest 11 weeks of the data for their postcode area. This additional report enables members to review changes almost as they are happening.

New clinical partners have also been brought on board, to support members to get ahead of the pack in terms of private services, from diagnostics through to weight management and smoking cessation.

Come together

Our sector can only thrive long-term by coming together, pooling resources and sending consistent signals to patients, Government and the NHS about our aspirations and capabilities, and freely sharing good practice.

The sector is going to have to navigate many weighty matters together in the months and years to come – including reforms to PSNC and LPCs, a new contractual framework, workforce shortages and engagement with integrated care systems.  

Not everyone will agree on the best route to take. It is better that we all accept this at the outset and prepare to seek common ground and discuss our mutual concerns robustly yet in a respectful and constructive way.

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