The National Pharmacy Association’s board and committees convened on 6-7 March

11 Mar 2020

Acting Chair of the Board, Andrew Lane, reports:

“Inevitably we discussed the emerging coronavirus situation – with a focus on what further practical support we can make available to community pharmacies in light of the extra pressures on them at this time.

The board is very concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on our members’ businesses, given that many of them have fragile finances after years of underfunding.  We have therefore suggested to government a number of contingency measures that will help independent pharmacies to stay operational as businesses and effective as frontline providers of patient care.

The NPA maintains a coronavirus information hub on its website, which includes answers to queries from NPA members, standard operating procedures, health & safety advice and employment law scenarios. New guidance about business continuity will also be available very shortly.

Having approved the NPA’s business plan and budget for 2020, it was recognised that the emerging situation with COVID-19 may require a greater degree of flexibility against the plan than would be usual. The plan confirms the NPA’s commitment to delivering member-centric services and securing community pharmacy’s position as the front door to the NHS.

We were pleased to note progress by global consultancy firm EY, who the NPA has commissioned to conduct an economic impact assessment of the community pharmacy funding and policy framework in England. The NPA expects to obtain telling evidence about the capacity of the pharmacy sector to deliver on NHS objectives, in the context of current flat funding. As a key part of this work, please watch out for a survey of NPA members, within the next fortnight.

Other topics for the board this month included pharmacy supervision, hub and spoke dispensing, the prospect of industrial action in Northern Ireland and the review of pharmacy representation in England, which relates principally to the work of PSNC and local pharmaceutical committees.

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