Pharmacy Minister backs new plan to beat COVID and rebuild NHS  

05 Jul 2021

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) today launched “a bold plan” for England’s community pharmacies to protect the population from COVID-19, improve access to primary care and prevent ill health.

Speaking at this week’s NPA conference, Public Health Minister Jo Churchill MP said she is “encouraged” by the plan and wants to see community pharmacy sitting at the heart of primary care.

The plan, called How We Can Help, argues that pharmacies are well placed for a central role in delivering booster COVID-19 vaccinations, allowing GPs to focus on clearing the care backlog in the NHS. It highlights pharmacists’ strong face-to-face relationships with patients and years of experience delivering flu vaccines.  It also covers pharmacy’s broader potential in preventing ill health, managing long term conditions and providing access to care near to where people live, work and shop.

NPA chair, Andrew Lane, said:

“Today we’re launching the National Pharmacy Association’s bold plan to unleash the potential of community pharmacy in England. Provided there’s sufficient ongoing support from government and NHS, pharmacies can help get the country through the pandemic, help the NHS catch up on lost ground and be a foundation stone for better care in the future.  Pharmacies have been central to the NHS response to Covid throughout, and you can be sure that the end of lockdown won’t be the end of the story of our sector’s epic contribution.

“Integrating community pharmacy with the rest of health and social care will be key to delivering improvements.  We aim to progress these ideas in an Integrated Care System with big ambitions to adopt a pharmacy first approach and release the potential of pharmacy teams in its area.”

Public Health Minister Jo Churchill said:

“I was really encouraged to read the NPA’s plan. Community pharmacy can help the nation recover from the pandemic and that includes supporting the Covid-19 and flu vaccination programme. As a government, we are committed to the idea of community pharmacy being the first port of call for minor illnesses and having a key role at the heart of primary care and prevention. I see community pharmacy being a central part of the integrated care system and the NPA plan sets out how that might be achieved.”

The Minister added that “we need a network of financially stable community pharmacies” to achieve those ambitions.

How We Can Help, is available to view now on the NPA website.