Public overwhelmingly back Pharmacy First

YouGov polling commissioned by PSNC has shown the strength of public support for pharmacies and for a Pharmacy First service.

The results show the extent of the public backing for a Pharmacy First approach – PSNC has been arguing that a fully-funded service would be beneficial for pharmacies, patients and the wider NHS. And they also show how many people would be concerned by any pharmacy closures.

The poll of 1,774 adults in England showed:

  • 68% of people agree that they would find it easier to seek health advice for common conditions, such as skin conditions or indigestion, at a community pharmacy rather than a GP surgery. Only 11% disagreed that this would be easier.
  • 75% of people agree that they would like to see community pharmacies offering more healthcare services such as treating urinary tract infections or sore throats. Only 6% strongly disagreed with this.
  • When asked how important, if at all, are the services provided by community pharmacies to them, their family, or community, 78% indicted this was very important. Only 14% said this wasn’t important.
  • 77% said they would be very concerned if the pharmacy they use most often were to close permanently. Only 19% said they would not be very concerned.

PSNC continues to call on the Government to provide a financial injection to stabilise the sector and enable pharmacies to keep their doors open. If the Government commits to a fully funded Pharmacy First service, it could build positively on the contributions pharmacies make in local communities and, with adequate funding, alleviate wider pressures in the primary care system and the NHS.

We have warned that without any further funding into the sector, more unplanned closures of pharmacies are increasingly likely, running the risk of reduced access to vital services for patients. We have also warned that the pharmacies that remain open will not have sufficient resources to help all the patients displaced by closures.

We hope that a fully funded Pharmacy First service will be included in the Government’s upcoming Primary Care Recovery Plan – we understand the approach is supported by Ministers.

The polling results lend further support for the approach and we are using them in MP influencing work as well as in our ongoing discussions with political advisors, the NHS and Government. We have also been using them to brief national press journalists.

PSNC Chief Executive Janet Morrison said:

“These polling results will come as no surprise to anybody working in community pharmacy – the public value their local pharmacies and want to see them doing even more to support their health. Having the data to prove this is incredibly important and allows us to once again show Government and the NHS how important pharmacies are and how much people want to go on using them. They must listen to the voice of the public and step in not only to save pharmacies, but to allow them to build on their successes during the pandemic to offer a national Pharmacy First service.”

Janet Morrison was also today quoted in the Daily Express taking about these results and the importance of the Government acting now to invest in the future pharmacy.

Pharmacy owners are reminded of the requirement to complete the 2023 workforce survey, which is a mandatory requirement for all pharmacy owners. The survey will close on Sunday 17th December 2023.

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