Party conference season: promoting pharmacy to MPs

Party conference season: promoting pharmacy to MPs

October 5, 2018

Over the last two weeks PSNC has been attending the annual political party conferences, working to ensure that politicians and other stakeholders understand the value of community pharmacy and all that pharmacies can do to support patients and local communities.

PSNC attended the conferences of the Labour and Conservative parties – in Liverpool and Birmingham, respectively – alongside representatives of the other national pharmacy organisations.

The conferences are an opportunity to discuss developments in the sector with MPs and wider stakeholders, which was especially important as the NHS Long Term Plan is being developed ready for publication this Autumn.

While Brexit dominated the conference headlines this year, the NHS and health services were still widely discussed with a particular focus on how the additional £20bn of NHS funding announced in the summer would be spent and what further resources social care services would need.

The NPA hosted fringe events in Liverpool and Birmingham considering whether health localism is still the future of primary care and: ‘The NHS: What’s the Plan?’, which saw MPs and others discussing solutions to some of the immediate challenges facing the health service including how community pharmacy could contribute.

The PDA hosted an event at the Labour party conference called ‘Wider than Medicine – where next for the NHS?’ in which Luciana Berger MP and others talked about the work that pharmacists can do to help ensure that people get most benefit from their medicines and that the NHS gets best value for money from its spend on medicines.

Other themes discussed at both conferences included the role that technology and AI might play in future healthcare services, the funding challenges facing both health and social care services, healthcare professionals’ views on the priorities for the NHS, and the challenges facing high streets and local communities.

PSNC contributed to a range of discussions, promoting the role of community pharmacies, and also engaged with contacts from across the health service including representatives of doctors, dentists and opticians, Turning Point charity, other pharmacy organisations, journalists and Julie Cooper MP, a member of the Shadow Health Team.

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

“The political party conferences are always a good chance to catch up with stakeholders, including MPs, and to make sure that community pharmacy is involved in conversations about healthcare. We were pleased to be able to support the work our pharmacy colleagues were doing at the conferences this year and their events helped to get more people thinking about pharmacies and all that they have to offer patients and the NHS. PSNC engaged with a range of people and representatives at the conferences this year and we will continue to work with the other pharmacy organisations to make the case for community pharmacy.”

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