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Manifesto launched by pharmacy bodies ahead of next election

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Manifesto launched by pharmacy bodies ahead of next election

Four pharmacy bodies have published a joint manifesto for community pharmacy in England ahead of the general election expected later this year.

Community Pharmacy England, the Company Chemists’ Association, the National Pharmacy Association and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society say the manifesto can be used by anyone in the community pharmacy sector to engage with political parties and candidates in the run-up to the election.

The #VotePharmacy Manifesto can be accessed online at The hub sets out a six-point plan to “unleash the potential of community pharmacy” that election candidates can be asked to support. The hashtag #VotePharmacy will be used to share updates throughout the election campaign.

The key points are:

  1. Fill the funding gap and commit to long-term sustainable funding. The manifesto points out that there has been no increase in core funding for community pharmacy since 2014. “In fact, it was cut by £200m in 2016 and the lack of any increase since has meant a real term cut of 30 per cent over the past 10 years. Over the same time the amount of work being asked of pharmacies by the NHS has increased by 10 per cent, making matters even worse. The recently announced Pharmacy First funding is welcome but only represents new money for new work.”
  2. Support and enhance the community pharmacy workforce. “Sustainable workforce planning by the government, NHS and integrated care systems, backed by investment in education and training, must ensure we have the pharmacy teams we need, where we need them,” the manifesto says.
  3. Ensure that patients can access the medicines they need, including an end-to-end review of the medicines supply chain. “Pharmacists and their teams have to spend too much time sourcing medicines that are in short supply. They should be enabled to make simple, appropriate changes to medicines where this is safe and could help alleviate access issues,” the manifesto urges. “Volatile pricing means that pharmacy businesses are often dispensing NHS medicines at a loss. This is unsustainable.”
  4. Rollout an enhanced Pharmacy First service for England, mirroring the highly successful approaches taken in Scotland and Wales.
  5. Empower community pharmacists to do more, with an ambitious roadmap for independent prescribing. “We want to see the NHS accelerate its training plans for pharmacist independent prescribing and in upskilling the existing workforce,” the manifesto says.
  6. Make pharmacies centres for public health, prevention and reducing health inequalities. “Years of underinvestment and patchy local commissioning has led to postcode lotteries in access to services,” the manifesto says. “We want to see a greater role in testing and screening and long-term conditions management. We also want to see pharmacies commissioned to provide further vaccination programmes.”

CPE chief executive, Janet Morrison, said: “The general election campaigning period is always an important moment to highlight community pharmacies and to start to build parliamentary supporters for the future. This manifesto is very much in line with the investment and support that CPE continues to press for. We hope that all pharmacy owners, as well as LPCs and other pharmacy owner representatives, will be able to support it and to help us to make community pharmacy’s voice heard ahead of the election.”

NPA chief executive, Paul Rees, added: “It is critical that whichever party forms the next government, they recognise that community pharmacy is facing its biggest crisis in living memory – with eight pharmacies closing a week and 1,000 having closed over the last decade. We urgently need a new deal for pharmacy – which among other things must include a massive injection of funding and an end to community pharmacy being treated as a second-class citizen within the NHS.”

AIMp ‘excluded’

Although not one of the bodies involved in drawing up the document, AIMp said it was “pleased” to see the manifesto after previously calling for more joint working between pharmacy organisations. Most of what was contained in the manifesto AIMp had been highlighting for many months, it added.

However, it was a “shame” that the other pharmacy bodies had decided to “exclude” AIMp from the manifesto. “We will leave it to people to decide for themselves how singling out and excluding a successful organisation with a fast growing membership and a prominent voice comes across,” said a spokesperson.

Story updated 5:35pm, March 5.

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