Community Pharmacy England (CPE) is reaching out on both sides of the political divide to call for greater support for the pharmacy sector.
CPE has written to both the health secretary, Victoria Atkins, and her Labour shadow, Wes Streeting, urging political leaders to work with the sector, patient bodies and charities to ‘realise the potential’ of community pharmacies.
This, according to the letter, involves delivering on A Vision for Community Pharmacy, a document developed by The King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust. This sets out national and local services that community pharmacy could provide within five and 10 years.
In addition, CPE is calling for pharmacy representation to be improved on integrated care boards (ICBs) and integrated care systems (ICSs).
Signatories of the letter include attendees of two roundtable discussions held by CPE at the Conservative and Labour autumn conferences. The topics covered included funding challenges, the Pharmacy First service and workforce issues.
The letter signatories also called for a discussion on how community pharmacy can be sustainably funded to prevent dispensing at a loss, with reform of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) suggested.
Janet Morrison, CPE chief executive, said: ‘We are very grateful for the support of all signatories in these letters to national health leaders. The long-term viability of community pharmacies is not a party-political issue.’
She added: ‘The message to all health leaders remains clear: if you do not provide pharmacies with the support they urgently need, the impact on pharmacy businesses will be catastrophic, and vital services to patients will become ever more chaotic, with medicines supply potentially critically at risk.’
This article first appeared on our sister title, The Pharmacist