MPs call for urgent action to protect the future of pharmacy

A report published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Pharmacy today calls for “urgent action” to relieve the significant funding and workforce pressures on community pharmacy and to deliver on the full potential of pharmacy teams.

The Future of Pharmacy: Manifesto report calls for a new “strategic vision” for pharmacies and highlights the opportunity to harness the potential of pharmacy teams to help tackle NHS backlogs. However, the report also warns that the Government must first urgently address the major issues confronting the sector.

The report summarises the findings of a year-long inquiry by MPs, initiated following the resilience and adaptability that the community pharmacy sector showed during the pandemic. PSNC and other pharmacy bodies gave evidence to the inquiry.

The report notes: “There is now a significant backlog of demand at all levels within the NHS. It is essential that the entire healthcare system, including pharmacy, is efficiently utilised to address this.”

To harness the potential of pharmacy, the report recommends that:

  • The Government must take urgent action to relieve the funding pressures on the community pharmacy sector in the short term and review the long-term funding model for pharmacy;
  • The Government must harness the power of pharmacy to help the NHS deal with the COVID-19 backlog and the UK’s growing healthcare challenges;
  • Future commissioning and funding must recognise that community pharmacy is the front door to the NHS for many patients;
  • The DHSC and NHS England must urgently re-evaluate the current and long-term workforce needs of the entire health and social care system, including pharmacy;
  • The Government should build on current commitments to provide funded independent prescriber training to ensure all existing pharmacists can train as independent prescribers if they so choose; and
  • For this ambitious new vision to be realised, community pharmacy must be placed at the heart of decision-making and policy development.

Read The Future of Pharmacy: Manifesto report

Zoe Long, PSNC Director of Communications and Public Affairs, said:

“This report sets out some useful recommendations which we endorse, particularly the call for funding and other support for community pharmacies. We hope Government will take note of what this cross-party group of MPs is telling it and act accordingly, and we will keep working with advocates across Westminster to try to make this happen. Urgent action to relieve the critical funding and other pressures on pharmacies is needed and this is what PSNC is continuing to fight for every day through our Parliamentary, media and wider strategic influencing work.”

About the Pharmacy APPG

The APPG is currently chaired by Taiwo Owatemi MP, a former pharmacist, and members include MPs of all political parties. The group receives financial support from five pharmacy bodies: AIM, CCA, NPA, PSNC and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

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