Promoting pharmacy to others
Promoting pharmacy to others
National and local media outlets are showing considerable interest in the COVID-19 pandemic and PSNC has been working to provide relevant information and comment to journalists, politicians and other interested parties.
Celebrating our #pharmacyheroes
In recent weeks there has been increased media interest in pharmacies and the work they are doing to support local communities. The national pharmacy bodies have been working together to create some resources to help contractors and LPCs showcase their own positive stories. This is to help promote the hard work of pharmacy teams, all of whom who are going above and beyond to support patients and the public throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pharmacy bodies are uniting around the brand #pharmacyheroes and are encouraging contractors and LPCs to join us in using this hashtag to promote the great work being undertaken by pharmacy teams. Tying in with this work, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) and PSNC have jointly created a media resource hub – www.nhsfrontline.com – to make it simpler for pharmacy teams and LPCs to tell their NHS frontline stories, to newspapers and via social media.
PSNC has also developed some ‘pharmacy heroes’ resources for LPCs:
Please note that these resources are intended to promote positive pharmacy stories. PSNC has also developed wider resources for LPCs to use to contact MPs about the pharmacy response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including key messages and national policy asks, which are available below.
As well as being in regular contact with Pharmacy Minister Jo Churchill, PSNC has been working with the other pharmacy organisations on MP engagement, taking advice from Lexington Communications on COVID-19 related Parliamentary work.
Resources to help LPCs engage with MPs
As community pharmacies work flat out amid the unprecedented demand brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak, LPCs may receive queries from local MPs about what pharmacies are doing to support the local community. LPCs may also want to proactively brief their local MPs to demonstrate how pharmacies are working tirelessly in difficult circumstances.
MPs will not be visiting pharmacies at this time, but there is plenty that can be done to communicate all of the work local pharmacy teams are doing at the moment. PSNC has developed a template letter for LPCs to use if they want to contact their local MPs to and the content is focused on the community pharmacy response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including some ‘asks’ regarding what more the sector needs at a national level. This is a template letter so it can be personalised to include any specific local examples you might also want to highlight to your local politicians.
If you need help identifying any of your local MPs then please refer to our mapping tool, which is linked below. This was developed by PSNC after the December 2019 General Election to help LPCs identify their new and returning MPs as easily as possible, and will be helpful if you are unsure of the MPs within your LPC area.
For any discussions with MPs, the following key messages document may be useful for LPCs to refer to. This includes information about some of the changes to pharmacy ways of working and opening hours, as well as key patient messaging that MPs might want to be aware of. This document also includes some policy asks, which will be useful if MPs ask about what further support the sector needs at a national level.
The five pharmacy organisations have also developed a joint briefing of key messages which will be helpful to share with MPs. This was coordinated by Lexington Communications, who will provide the Secretariat for the All-Party Pharmacy Group once it is re-registered and will be available to handle media enquiries. For any further questions about the APPG, please contact Lexington at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Social media resources promoting pharmacy
Community pharmacy teams have been working tirelessly as the COVID-19 outbreak has developed, including opening on the Early May Bank Holiday (Friday 8th May). PSNC has collated some graphics and resources for LPCs and contractors to use on social media if they would like to demonstrate the work pharmacies are doing at this time.
For your social media accounts, we have drafted some template tweets to promote pharmacy opening hours during the May Bank Holiday. We have also developed a series of graphics which cover some key COVID-19 messaging and are available for you to download via this shared Dropbox account. These have been created so that LPCs or pharmacies can add their own branding to the graphics or tweak the messaging if they wish.
Resources shared by others
Community Pharmacy Lancashire has launched a local media campaign, ‘Care For Your Pharmacy’, urging patients to respect pharmacy staff after it reported a rise in cases of aggressive behaviour towards pharmacy teams. They created some useful graphics to support their campaign which others may find helpful to draw from. If you would like any additional information about this campaign, please contact the LPC.
Resources to use with local media
Support for LPCs and pharmacy teams on gaining media interest in the role of community pharmacies during the pandemic is provided below. For further support with media queries, please contact the PSNC Communications Team by emailing email@example.com
Other communications resources shared by LPCs
Some LPCs have produced their own resources, such as template letters etc. and others may find these useful for their own communications work. Please follow this link to the ideas sharing page in the LPC Members Area to take a look at other COVID-19 resources LPCs have contributed.
Pharmacy press coverage
BBC News (16th April): reports that local pharmacies are facing a cash crisis, with many supplying prescriptions at a loss. The article features some of the pressures experienced in pharmacies at the moment and includes contributions from PSNC Regional Representative an independent contractor, Mark Burdon, and Chief Executive Officer of Community Pharmacy Lancashire, Kath Gulson.
The Times (14th April): reported that pharmacies are in desperate need of appropriate funding to stay afloat, with PSNC quoted as saying that the sector is heading towards a “cliff-edge”.
The Telegraph (12th April): Jackie Doyle-Price, Conservative MP for Thurrock, praised the role of pharmacists amid the COVID-19 outbreak. In particular, she called for greater financial support for the sector “in the form of a special payment to cover the costs incurred in the fight against COVID19”.
ITV News (9th April): reported on a survey – conducted by the PDA – of around 1,000 pharmacy workers that found 89% of pharmacy workers have experienced abuse or aggression in the past month.
The Mirror (9th April): Toby Anderson, chief executive of the Lloyds Pharmacy chain, revealed that 2,500 members of staff are now self-isolating, equivalent to 20% of its entire workforce.
The Sun (8th April) and The Express (9th April): Boots plan to temporarily close 60 stores that have seen a loss in footfall due to COVID-19 – particularly those in airports, train stations and city centres. Pharmacists will be redeployed to busier nearby stores.
ITV News (8th April): reported that a community running group in Bristol is helping local pharmacies deliver medicines to vulnerable patients who cannot leave their homes.
BBC Radio 4’s Today programme (7th April):
PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes discussed the national medicines delivery service for shielded patients, raising concerns that current plans could leave vulnerable people at risk from fraudsters and potentially without their medicines. PSNC Committee Member Mark Burdon also spoke about the impact of the situation on his mental and physical health, as well as on his pharmacy’s bank balance.
BBC News (6th April): reported concerns that high street pharmacists are needlessly being put at risk of catching and spreading coronavirus due to a lack of personal protective equipment.
The Times (2nd April): reported that intimidated pharmacists are having to call the police as frustrated patients are becoming abusive.
The Mail (25th March): Featured a piece showing a pharmacist – fully covered in protective clothing – delivering medicines to a patient’s home. The photos also show how the pharmacist is practicing social distancing measures while making the delivery.
BBC News (24th March): A video piece, Inside a pharmacy coping with coronavirus, was published in which Marc Borson, a community pharmacist in Manchester, explains what it is like on the frontline.
The Mail (24th March): Pharmacies say they are worried they have been ‘completely forgotten’ by the government due to inadequate supplies of PPE.
iNews (23rd March): Pharmacies are urging people to stop stockpiling medicines and medical devices.
The Sun (23rd March): The paper reported pharmacies are running critically low on crucial drugs after it saw an urgent memo to Boots staff which warned that that its supplies of paracetamol could be exhausted by the end of the week.
The Sunday Times (22nd March): PSNC Committee Member Garry Myers was interviewed for an article focusing on the surge in demand for painkillers. The piece explained that the volume of work for pharmacies had doubled overnight, leaving them “on the brink of collapse”.
BBC Radio 4’s Today programme (16th March):
PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes discussed the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the community pharmacy sector, calling for urgent investment in community pharmacies to support them through this unprecedented situation.