Promoting pharmacy to others
Promoting pharmacy to others
As community pharmacies continue to 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.
Parliament is currently in recess for the summer, so MPs will be back in their constituencies for the next few weeks, which presents a good time for LPCs and contractors to get in touch. Some MPs are beginning to visit pharmacies again (in a socially distanced way and wearing face coverings) and some pharmacies may like to consider offering this. Otherwise, LPCs may prefer to offer a briefing by video conference, such as Zoom instead.
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.
As well as being in regular contact with Pharmacy Minister Jo Churchill, PSNC has been working to brief MPs throughout the pandemic, including jointly with the other pharmacy organisations. Below are some resources to help LPCs engage with local MPs.
Latest MP briefing material (last updated December 2020)
PSNC has developed a briefing for LPCs and contractors to use when engaging with MPs on financial pressures facing community pharmacies. This contains all of our latest asks on funding and other operational pressures pharmacies are experiencing as a result of the pandemic. This material will be particularly useful for MPs who want to understand what help community pharmacy needs, as it sets out exactly what financial and operational support we are asking for.
Flu resources (September 2020)
This year’s NHS flu vaccination programme has been markedly different to previous years and LPCs may receive queries from MPs about supply issues etc. We have produced a briefing on increased demand for flu vaccinations, as well as other winter pressures, which LPCs might find useful for conversations with MPs on these matters.
Due to various local lockdown restrictions, some MPs may visit a pharmacy to receive a flu vaccination, while others may simply be briefed by the LPC or a local contractor – either in person or virtually via Zoom. In either case, MPs may offer to publish a supportive press release to share via local media channels. Below is a template which can be used whether your MPs receive a vaccination, or if they simply visit to hear about this year’s service and how pharmacies will be supporting the local community this winter.
Summer pandemic resources (August 2020)
Below is a template letter for LPCs to use to contact local MPs and invite them for a pharmacy visit or virtual briefing.
The document below offers some guidance and tips to engage with MPs in either of these ways, as well as some key messages and asks to help inform your discussions.
Following a pharmacy visit, MPs may offer to collaborate on a local press release, and those who are briefed virtually may also offer to publish a supportive statement or release for their websites or local media. A template for either of these is available below.
MP Visit Guidance (February 2020)
This guidance document provides advice for LPCs looking to organise successful visits to community pharmacies for local Members of Parliament.
MPs by LPCs (December 2019)
This document maps MPs in England by LPC area. This was created after the December 2019 General Election and is designed to help LPCs identify their new and returning MPs as easily as possible.
Celebrating our #pharmacyheroes
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
The Independent (7th January): PSNC contributed to an article in The Independent, which further explored the involvement of pharmacies’ in the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
The Telegraph (6th January): The Telegraph featured an article including comments from PSNC, which stated that pharmacies’ offer to give COVID-19 vaccinations had been snubbed by ministers. Similar articles including these comments from PSNC were also featured in The Mail and The Sun.
The Independent (4th January): An article reports that Tesco and Boots have offered to help with COVID-19 vaccination roll-out; Tesco by way of its distribution arm, through the use of refrigerated lorries to transport vaccinations, and Boots through helping to open three vaccination sites in Halifax, Huddersfield and Gloucester.
BBC News (30th December): An article in which the pharmacy industry urges the government to use the pharmacy network to accelerate the delivery of the newly approved Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is featured in BBC News. This includes a contribution from PSNC.
The Telegraph (22nd November): A survey of 2,000 adults, commissioned by the NPA, found that one in seven people were forced to visit a pharmacy at least twice because they were unable to see their GP in person due to COVID-19.
The Mirror (19th October): The NPA warned ministers that pharmacies could be forced to cut services as the country battles a second wave of COVID-19.
The Telegraph (30th September): PSNC also contributed to an article in The Telegraph on increased demand for flu vaccines and stocks available in community pharmacies.
The Guardian (25th September): The Guardian also featured an article on demand for flu vaccinations, which featured comments from PSNC.
The Independent (24th September): The Independent later reported that Lloyds was also forced to overhaul its flu vaccination booking system following a tenfold surge in appointments. Similar stories were also featured in BBC News, Sky News and iNews.
BBC News (21st September): Following increased demand, Boots temporarily suspended its flu vaccination bookings for anyone under the age of 65, which was covered in the media.
The Mirror (14th September): Two articles were featured in The Mirror about pharmacy funding as part of its campaign to protect the sector. One has been written by Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Chair of the APPG, who has called upon ministers to ‘stop quibbling over pharmacy funding’. The other highlights a letter that has been written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak on behalf of 1,300 pharmacies, who have urged him to review sector funding.
The Mirror (6th September): The Mirror reported on the results of PSNC’s Pharmacy Advice Audit, warning that pharmacists could go on strike if the sector is not not adequately funded.
The Telegraph (11th August): Jackie Doyle-Price MP, chair of the Pharmacy APPG, had an opinion piece in The Telegraph, where she highlighted the role of pharmacy during the pandemic and called for additional support for the sector.
The Telegraph (6th August): The Telegraph reported on a statement from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, which said pharmacists should be able to change quantities, strength and formulation of medicines dispensed to help ‘reduce time-wasting’.
The Telegraph (15th July)/The Mail (16th July): The Telegraph reported that pharmacy closures are set to be reversed, after Matt Hancock indicated that pharmacies will be central to the eventual COVID-19 vaccination programme and will ‘play a massive role’.
The Mail/The Mirror (13th July): Matt Hancock’s address at the National Pharmacy Association conference picked up some national coverage, where he said ministers were preparing to roll out the ‘biggest flu vaccination programme in history’.
BBC News (26th June): A survey conducted by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society was reported on, which found that 70% of BAME pharmacists have not been approached by their employer to have a workplace risk assessment.
The Telegraph (1st June): A record number of prescriptions were issued as the UK entered lockdown after NHS data has revealed that 93 million prescribed medicines were dispensed in March – a rise of more than seven million in the same month last year. PSNC and the CCA are quoted.
The Mirror (26th May): Pharmacies and chemists issue coronavirus cash crisis warning to Boris Johnson, as The Mirror reports on a letter to the Prime Minister written by the National Pharmacy Association.
BBC News (16th April): BBC News reported 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.