National Pharmacy Association Board meeting – April 2019

03 May 2019

The National Pharmacy Association’s Board and Committees convened on 29/30 April.

The Board receives regular reports of progress against the business plan agreed for 2019/20.  The plan commits the NPA to delivering member-centric services and securing community pharmacy’s position as the front door to the NHS.


A key strand of the business plan is to help NPA members develop their digital capabilities, so that they can better organise workflow, deliver pioneering new services, meet modern consumer expectations and integrate effectively with other parts of the health care system.  The Board this month gave the go ahead for a work stream with the following ambitious aims:


  • Provide NPA members with a compelling digital offer that helps them to drive their businesses and enables them to compete on a level footing with the large multiples
  • Help NPA members adopt digital practices that equip them for a future which may include the provision of a wide range of professional services
  • Strengthen the NPA’s ability to influence the wider NHS digital agenda, on behalf of independent community pharmacy


The Policy & Practice Committee further developed the concept of community pharmacy as the ‘front door to health’ – an indispensable component of the urgent care pathway, a uniquely accessible wellbeing hub and a mainstay of support for people with long-term conditions; in short, the first place to come for healthcare, inside and outside the NHS.  The enablers for making this a reality include technology, workforce, partnership and, in England, effective Primary Care Networks.  This important piece of thought leadership work will continue at pace, and we will share more details with members shortly.


Following an initial discussion, the Board will have an opportunity to consider the controversial issue of Pharmacist Apprenticeships in more detail at our next meeting at the end of May.  Meanwhile, the NPA’s basic position is as follows:


  • We have taken part in a number of discussions about an apprenticeship standard for pharmacists, along with a wide range of other organisations.
  • Any new approach to education and training must maintain or enhance the professional standing of pharmacists, the skills of pharmacists and the scope of pharmacist practice.
  • We believe that a pharmacist is central to the very identity of any pharmacy, and that the future of community pharmacy lies in providing clinical services alongside the safe supply of medicines.  It follows that we support the highest standards of education and training for pharmacists.


If you wish to comment on anything in this brief report of Board proceedings, please get in touch with your NPA regional board member, or email