Community pharmacy campaign highly commended at public affairs awards

At the PRWeek 2023 awards, the public affairs agency Luther Pendragon were highly commended in the public affairs campaign category for the influencing work that they undertook with Community Pharmacy England last year.

Following a competitive tender process last autumn, Luther were appointed to support Community Pharmacy England’s influencing strategy as we work to get more recognition, investment and support for community pharmacies.

The campaign entry focused on the work Luther and Community Pharmacy England carried out last year to influence the Government’s primary care recovery planning. This ultimately led to the commitment to the £645 million investment in pharmacies which is currently being negotiated.

The investment is the largest one-off funding increase for pharmacies since 2006 and was made to support a new service which will see pharmacies become the public’s first port of call for seven common conditions.

Our influencing work with Luther Pendragon took an integrated approach including:

  • A parliamentary drop-in event at which we launched our four-point plan to secure the future of community pharmacy;
  • National print and broadcast coverage;
  • Use of data such as from the Pharmacy Pressures Survey and YouGov polling;
  • Further Parliamentary roundtable discussions;
  • Multiple letters to the Secretary of State and Prime Minister – including both cross-sector letters, and letters from MPs;
  • A programme of pharmacy MP visits; and
  • Collaborative working across the community pharmacy sector.

Underpinning all of this, Luther helped Community Pharmacy England build up and engage a large cross-party caucus of supportive MPs and Peers, including Ministers and Shadow Ministers. This group of supporters received regular briefings, attended events, made contributions in Parliament and made local pharmacy visits in their constituencies.

As well as the investment promised in the eventual recovery plan, the work also significantly raised pharmacy’s profile across Parliament, in the media and with patient representatives. All of this engagement work is continuing at pace as we seek further solutions for community pharmacy.

Community Pharmacy England Chief Executive Janet Morrison said:

“Over the past year we have significantly ramped up our political and wider influencing work using a range of public affairs tactics to push community pharmacy up the policy agenda. We appointed Luther Pendragon to support this through a competitive tender process and we are delighted to have had our joint work recognised as gold standard in the public affairs world.

There is much more still to do to turn around the current crisis in the sector and our strategic influencing work will continue apace.”