Representing you through consultations
Helga Mangion, NPA Policy Manager
The consultations that the NPA deals with tend to come from policy makers who develop policies relating to community pharmacy and independent pharmacy sector. The consultations issued by the Department of Health and Social Care and the GPHC are absolutely key as they directly impact the way pharmacies function and the way pharmacists interact with patients.
The NPA also responds to consultations that affect community pharmacy as a consequence rather than directly. For example; community pharmacy provides many ill-health prevention services, such as smoking cessation, and these services are commissioned through local authorities. A year ago the NPA submitted evidence to a parliamentary enquiry regarding the public health department’s move to local government. This inflicted huge impact on community pharmacy as now many pharmacy services are commissioned differently. Public health itself then suffered a dramatic budget cut, which in turn affected the number of services being commissioned through community pharmacy.
The main challenge in dealing with consultations is working to extremely tight deadlines. Major consultations often allow 3 months, whereas some more specific areas may only grant a matter of weeks. In this time we are required to inform members about the consultation subject matter, gather opinions and collate them as a response. For this reason it is vital for NPA members to respond and provide their views on consultations in the time allocated, as it could have a big impact on the future of community pharmacy. Hearing from our members who are out there working and living the reality of community pharmacists is a valuable asset, particularly when consultations call for evidence.
As the NPA’s Policy Manager, I am the members’ voice. Together we can speak louder for community pharmacy and with the help of member contributions we can make a huge difference to our future. Responding to a consultation does not have to be a formal process, NPA members are encouraged to write to firstname.lastname@example.org or simply pick up the phone and call 01727 858687