MPs back pharmacy at Pharmacy First showcase event

Community Pharmacy England and other national pharmacy bodies briefed 25 Parliamentarians and their teams about the newly introduced Pharmacy First service at a drop-in event in the Houses of Parliament yesterday (12th March).

The event, which we hosted alongside the other national pharmacy bodies, allowed us to showcase the value of Pharmacy First, but also to underline the critical financial and operational pressures facing community pharmacies. MPs were also briefed on the potential for pharmacy to deliver other services, subject to appropriate funding and support.

MPs, Peers and Parliamentary staff from across all political parties dropped in throughout the event with pharmacists and pharmacy owners present to walk them through how the Pharmacy First service works in practice.

Attendees from Parliament went on to express their support for the new service and for the importance of the role that pharmacies play in supporting the health and wellbeing of their local communities:

The event also drew attention to the critical state of the sector and we sought MPs’ help to raise the issue in Parliament and with Government Ministers directly. Attendees were concerned to hear of the challenges pharmacies are facing and how this might impact on public access to healthcare.

During the event we invited MPs from across all political parties to sign a letter calling on the Government to:

  1. Commit to working with the pharmacy sector to create an economically sustainable core funding model that protects community pharmacies and gives the sector confidence for the future.
  2. Develop the Pharmacy First service to enable patients to have walk-in consultations for more common minor conditions.
  3. Extend other clinical services that pharmacies can provide such as vaccinations, women’s health services, support for healthy lifestyles and long-term conditions management.

Download the cross-sector briefing on Pharmacy First given to MPs here.

Community Pharmacy England Chief Executive Janet Morrison said:

“Community pharmacy teams across the country have worked extremely hard to implement Pharmacy First, despite the severe pressures they face on a daily basis. With a General Election looming, this event was a good opportunity for us to highlight the sector’s success whilst also underlining the need to address the pharmacy funding crisis.

The MPs we spoke to were impressed by the value of Pharmacy First and the potential for pharmacy to provide other clinical services, but we also explained to them the enormous pressures that community pharmacies are currently under. This is continuing to have a crippling effect on pharmacy businesses of all shapes and sizes and urgently needs addressing.”

Community Pharmacy England influencing and campaigning work

Community Pharmacy England is continuing to warn Government and the NHS about the ongoing impact of the extreme financial pressures that community pharmacies, who have been subjected to a 30% funding cut since 2015, are grappling with.

To support all of this ongoing work, we have recently updated our guidance for engaging with MPs and added a number of MP briefings to our Information for Politicians webpage. These include information about Pharmacy First as well as our latest position on topical issues.