PSNC and MPs continue to highlight the value of pharmacy
PSNC is continuing its work to demonstrate the value of pharmacy to MPs. Recently there has been further recognition from MPs for all the work community pharmacies are doing to support patients and the wider NHS, as well as the pressures facing the pharmacy workforce.
Minister confirms over five million COVID-19 vaccinations administered by pharmacy teams
On Twitter, Nadhim Zahawi, Conservative MP for Stratford-upon-Avon and the Minister responsible for COVID-19 vaccine deployment, thanked the more than 500 pharmacy-led vaccination sites for their efforts, stating that they have so far administered over five million vaccines across England.
🚨BREAKING NEWS🚨: over 500 community pharmacies have delivered over 5 million vaccines in England – including my own vaccination at Avicenna pharmacy in Lewisham.
Thank you to the staff and volunteers at #communitypharmacy local vaccination sites for their fantastic efforts.
— Nadhim Zahawi (@nadhimzahawi) June 3, 2021
Health Questions: Minister praises ‘highly-skilled’ pharmacies
This week in Parliament during Health Questions, Laurence Robertson, Conservative MP for Tewkesbury, asked what steps were being taken to increase the range of work carried out by community pharmacies. He also said that more should be done to help the public understand what their local pharmacies offer to help reduce pressure on general practice.
Jo Churchill, Conservative MP for Bury St Edmunds and the Minister responsible for pharmacy, replied highlighting some of the important services already available from many pharmacies and their potential to offer more:
“…Pharmacies are delivering lateral flow devices into our communities; 500 of them have stood up to be vaccination sites; and we can now refer from NHS 111 and GPs into community pharmacies for the supply of prescribed medicine and for minor illnesses. We need our pharmacies to show their skill base; they are a highly skilled group that we should all be asking to do more and celebrating.”
Health and Social Care Committee: Report recognises pressures on pharmacy workforce
Following an inquiry into workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care, MPs on the Health and Social Care Committee published a report which included some recognition of the pressures facing those working in the pharmacy sector.
Workforce burnout had been raised as a serious problem by a wide range of organisations representing NHS staff, including pharmacists. In particular, the report acknowledged that additional pressures and the perception of not being recognised and appreciated extended to pharmacy, and highlighted an anonymous submission from a community pharmacist, who told the Health Committee that despite staying open throughout the pandemic, community pharmacy felt “very underrecognized” and “undervalued”. They also told the Committee that community pharmacists acted as the “hidden sponge” that soaked up a large number of people that would otherwise have presented at A&E or a GP practice; and that it would be a “real travesty” should that work be forgotten.
PSNC submitted written evidence to the Inquiry in November 2020 to set out the impact of COVID-19 on demand for pharmacy services and staff morale, as well as some measures to help mitigate the causes of workplace stress, which is available to view here.
Resources for contractors and LPCs to brief local MPs
While this support from MPs is welcome, it is important to keep highlighting all of the hard work pharmacies are doing to local politicians to make them aware of the valuable support available from pharmacies and what local communities risk losing out on should that be taken away.
Our most recent briefing and infographic for MPs on the results of the 2021 Pharmacy Advice Audit may be helpful resources for contractors and LPCs who are briefing any local MPs and want to highlight pharmacies’ important role in providing opportunistic healthcare advice to patients. The data also shows how GPs and the wider NHS would be impacted if patients weren’t able to access a pharmacy, so will be useful for those looking to demonstrate the value of pharmacy services.
For any queries about local MP work, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org