Ian Strachan’s personal appeal – write to your MPs

13 Jan 2016

Today I have written to my constituency MP to ask for his support in the struggles that may lie ahead in relation to Government plans for ‘efficiencies’ in community pharmacy. I have done this as an ordinary contractor, rather than signing as NPA Chair.

I see it as a two-stage approach: in this first letter reminding the MP of the value of local pharmacies; I will send a second letter soon, with a more specific request for help, once there is a bit more information about the Government’s plans.

I appeal to you to write to your own MP.  Base your letter on YOUR STORIES. Your experiences, your examples of how you have served patients and added value to the social capital of your community.

Any of your own personal hardship that may come about as a result of the Government’s approach should not, in my view, be the theme of your correspondence. Instead, it’s your stories of care, compassion, and passion for the patients and communities you serve.  Think about your patient profile. Think about those you have assisted to live in their homes for longer, the elderly, the disabled and the immobile. (These, after all, would be the biggest casualties of cuts and ‘efficiencies’).  As you can see from my own letter [see below] I have focused on: core hours extension: the additional hours I provide free of charge to a 24/7 NHS; the length of time my pharmacy has been serving patients; important services I provide to patients; examples of the extra mile I and my team so often go for our patients.

Your letter doesn’t necessarily need to be computerised; just a hand-written note will suffice and may even be more personal.

If you need help compiling your letters, the NPA has assigned a dedicated email address independentsvoice@npa.co.uk, or telephone 0330 123 1035.

Many of us I feel betrayed, angry and confused right now. This is your moment to defend patient access and the services that patients value from your pharmacy.

Good luck.




David Nuttall MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

13 Jan 2016

Dear Mr Nuttall,

‎My pharmacy has been situated in Bury for 27 years. I am writing today to inform you of some of the important clinical services and difference I make to my patients in your constituency.  In particular, the many times we’ve gone that extra mile to provide care.

We provide an array of services including flu vaccination, minor ailments, supervised consumption and a weight management clinic.  My NHS contr‎act is 40 hours but owing to patient demand I extended my core hours by 15 to 55 a week, nine years ago. My patients, therefore, benefit from 15 hours of additional service free of cost to the NHS each week; that’s 15 hours of free advice, recommendation, referral and reassurance.

Once, a distressed mother with a seven-month-old baby with convulsions came to see me. The baby was too hot so I cooled her down by stripping the baby to a nappy and vest and placed her forehead with a cold flannel under water. The mother brought flowers and a card a few days later in gratitude. All this happened in the 15 hours the Government enjoys free of charge.

We have an extensive delivery service with two part-time drivers. Each driver does approximately 35 deliveries a day. Many patients will ask them to drop off tissues, toilet rolls, milk or a newspaper, as well as their medicines. Putting dustbins out is common and even sitting to look through family scrap books is something the drivers are asked. In such ways, we are helping around 40 people on my list to remain living independently for longer. Some of our patients comment that our drivers are only face to face contact they have with anyone from one week to another.  I re-iterate, all this additional support is given free of charge by the pharmacy.

‎I ask if you would take the time across your busy schedule to visit my pharmacy and learn more about the countless examples of how my pharmacy, and other local pharmacies, are part of the fabric of society in your constituency.

‎Yours sincerely,

Ian Strachan
Strachan’s Chemist