PSNC announcement on covid costs: NPA response

Responding to PSNC’s announcement today that they have reached a deal with HM Government about Covid costs incurred by community pharmacies, NPA chief executive Mark Lyonette said: “It’s good that the government has finally listened to our repeated appeals for a decision about how Covid costs will be repaid to pharmacies in England.  We look forward to examining the fine print of these arrangements. “It shouldn’t have taken battle buses, petitions, newspaper campaigns and public protests by NPA members to get us to this point.  “We have persistently pressed the government in private and held them to account in public on this matter. “We also acknowledge the many MPs who have backed us in parliament, including the All Party Pharmacy Group. “This is no more than our members deserve – after all pharmacies bore Covid costs in good faith that they would be repaid, in the service of the nation. “It’s now really important that contractors claim all that is due to them within the July 5 – August 15 window.  The NPA will provide support and guidance to our members, most of whom do not have a big back-office to carry out the task of accounting for costs. “We’re pleased that the issue of Covid costs is at last being addressed, but attention must also be given to fixing the pharmacy contract in England, which remains seriously underfunded.”…

NPA reaches 100 years milestone

One hundred years ago this week, the National Pharmacy Association held its first board meeting at the Hearts of Oak Friendly Society in Euston Road, London.

To mark the NPA’s centenary, MPs have offered their congratulations in the form of a parliamentary Early Day Motion. A celebratory webinar, due to take place on Wednesday evening, was postponed in light of the official week-long period of mourning for the death of Prince Philip. That event will instead take place on Wednesday 28 April (registration is at www.npa.co.uk/news-and-events/events/celebrating-100-years). The parliamentary motion, tabled by Scottish Nationalist MP, Dr Lisa Cameron, and co-signed by MPs from parties across the House of Commons, reads: That this House congratulates the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) as it celebrates 100 years of serving community pharmacies in the UK; notes that the NPA has helped its members through enormous change, including the formation of the NHS in 1948, the overhaul of medicines regulations in 1968, the massive expansion in the range of medicines available to patients and the establishment of new roles in public health, urgent care and managing long term conditions; recognises the vital contribution of pharmacies today, especially in the light of their work during the covid-19 pandemic; and looks forward to pharmacies playing an important role in the health, wellbeing and daily life of our communities in the years to come. The first board meeting in 1921 saw chairman John Deakin address the newly elected Executive Committee and outline the course that the new organisation (then called the Retail Pharmacists’ Union) should pursue.…

MPs debate pharmacy and the impact of Covid-19

MPs discussed the impact of Covid-19 on community pharmacy and funding arrangements for the sector, during a House of Commons debate this week (Thursday 11 March).

Led by the chair of the All-Party Pharmacy Group, Jackie Doyle-Price MP, the debate drew on the findings of the December 2020 All-Party Pharmacy Group Covid-19 Inquiry Report which showed that many pre-existing challenges had been amplified by the pandemic. Seventeen MPs took part in the debate, including Pharmacy Minister Jo Churchill and her Labour Party opposite, Alex Norris. Jackie Doyle-Price and several others argued for a more secure financial footing for the community pharmacy sector. “My challenge is for DHSC and the NHS to properly look at how they can make sure pharmacies get a fair deal,” she said. Several MPs cited an Ernst and Young report commissioned by the NPA in 2020, which predicted that the average pharmacy will be making an annual loss of £43k by 2024, under current arrangements. Jo Churchill acknowledged that pharmacy teams have “worked unbelievably hard for the past year” and said she is “aware of concerns that current funding isn’t enough”. She continued, “We are still in discussions with the PSNC about the reimbursement of Covid-19 costs incurred by community pharmacy and I can reassure the house that the government will take a pragmatic approach.” Mark Lyonette, NPA Chief Executive said: “The level of parliamentary support for community pharmacy is at an all-time high, which is testament to the heroics of pharmacy teams during the pandemic as well as determined advocacy by NPA members and others.…

Serving the needs of a diverse community

Inclusive Pharmacy Practice Plan Pharmacists across England are being urged to join in with a new national plan for inclusive pharmacy practice. The plan sets out actions for pharmacy leaders and their teams at all levels and in all care settings to consider, including developing their understanding of the benefits of diverse teams and culturally competent healthcare service delivery; and ensuring the voices of colleagues from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds are fairly represented and equally heard in decision-making forums. Chief pharmaceutical officer Dr Keith Ridge, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the Association of Pharmacy Technicians and 12 partner organisations including the NPA back the plan which was issued on 10 March.  The focus of the plan over the first four months is on addressing vaccine hesitancy and reducing health inequalities more broadly. A Joint National Statement of Principles on Inclusive Pharmacy Professional Practice underpins the plan. ‘Cultural competence’ in healthcare service delivery is a term we all need to become familiar with and understand. Most pharmacists may feel they already act in a culturally competent way, but there is much more that can be done. Put simply, cultural competence is the ability to interact with people from different cultures and respond to their health needs; and creating a working culture that recognises, respects, values and harnesses difference for the benefit of the organisation and individuals.…

NPA members take funding campaign to ministers’ own backyards

Pharmacists in the constituencies of Treasury Ministers and Health Ministers today warned the government not to backtrack on promises to cover Covid-19 costs.

They are displaying posters and distributing leaflets, which warn that funding cuts and Covid costs have taken many pharmacies to the brink of closure. Meanwhile, the NPA has placed adverts in local newspapers and influential political websites, highlighting the £370m-plus Covid costs which the government has so far refused to reimburse pharmacies – despite a clear promise from the Prime Minister. Jonathan Cooper, owner of Coopers Chemists in the Richmond constituency of Chancellor Rishi Sunak in Yorkshire, is joining the protests. He said: “My pharmacy and many others like it have continued to see patients in the community while other parts of the health system could not offer this vital service. Had community pharmacies not worked so hard to keep their doors open during this national crisis, things would have been far worse. As a result we have incurred massive extra costs and the government needs to cover this as promised. We want to give a message to Mr Sunak: our door is open – please let us keep it that way by reversing these devastating cuts!” National Pharmacy Association chief executive Mark Lyonette said: “The government continues to drag its feet over offering proper financial assistance for pharmacies, so this latest campaign initiative brings the matter close to home for the decision makers, in their own constituencies.…

Citizens group petitions for COVID funding to save pharmacies from closure 

Grassroots campaigning organisation, 38 Degrees, is backing calls for the government to recompense pharmacies for the extra costs they have incurred by staying open to provide health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following discussions with the National Pharmacy Association, a 38 Degrees petition went live yesterday and has already gathered nearly 2000 signatures in 24 hours. It highlights that many independent pharmacies are now in deficit and calls on the government to keep its promises to support the sector. Cathy Warren, Campaign Manager at 38 Degrees, said: “Community pharmacies are a critically important part of our healthcare system. During the pandemic they’ve been a lifeline providing vital healthcare for people up and down the country. No one wants to see their local pharmacy close its doors because of a lack of financial support. That’s why thousands of members of the public are coming together to call on the government to give community pharmacies the cash injection they desperately need.” NPA Chair, Andrew Lane, said: “It’s great that such a high profile citizens group has taken this cause on, because it gives the general public an opportunity to have their say on a matter of importance to their daily lives and the lives of their loved-ones.  We also want pharmacists and many others working in and around the community pharmacy sector to sign the petition. This is a simple way to make your feelings known about how pharmacies should be supported.…

NPA resources for supplying medicines and delivering services at a distance

More information, resources and useful references for undertaking the service can be found on the NPA Providing pharmacy services at distance including via the internet hub Further information on this subject can be found below: Resources Date published The regulatory changes to the NHS Terms of Service requires all Distance Selling Pharmacies (DSPs) to have a website accessible to the public from 1 April 2021: Access here 8 March 2021 Organisations providing online prescribing services are proactively contacting community pharmacies – if you have been approached, the NPA has published key points to ensure you continue to deliver your services in a safe and compliant manner/standards: Access here  14 October 2020 Patient safety update for owners/ superintendent pharmacists that are providing online pharmacy services including those linked to online prescribing service: Access here  30 September 2019 NPA has published a fact sheet to provide information on safety issues and appropriate steps to take for online providers of pharmacy services: Access here 30 September 2019 The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is taking enforcement and regulatory action against the owners of these registered pharmacies, as well as individual pharmacists involved in both the prescribing and supply of medicines where their conduct may have fallen short of professional standards: Access here 20 September 2019 The GPhC has issued new guidance that says pharmacies operating online or providing services at a distance must carry out identity checks on patients before prescribing a medicine: Access here 16 April 2019 The NPA has warned that the categories of medicines that require further safeguards when available online do not extend far enough; hence call for extra online safeguards to be extended to more medicines: Access here 23 August 2018 Discussion paper which focuses on the new areas that the GPhC is proposing to cover in the updated guidance for pharmacy owners, which suggest additional safeguards to patients and the public who obtain medicines, and other pharmacy services, safely online: Access here  14 August 2018 The Medicines and Healthcare regulatory authority (MHRA) highlights the dangers of purchasing slimming pills online: Access here  7 December 2017 Superintendent update focusing on online provision of human medicines – are you operating legally?:…

NPA and CCA promote community pharmacy careers in Scottish schools

A new support pack aimed at school children has been created in a bid to boost community pharmacy as a career choice in Scotland.

Produced by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) and the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA), Community Pharmacy – A career choice in Scotland includes a PowerPoint presentation, activity sheets, and further information on how to become part of the community pharmacy team in Scotland. All community pharmacy team members in Scotland can use the support pack, developed in consultation with school teachers, to provide support to schools directly by attending career events, or by signposting local schools to the resource. It describes the role of a community pharmacist, why it is a valuable career choice and how to find out more about becoming a community pharmacist. In addition to pharmacists, the resource highlights other community pharmacy roles including pharmacy technicians, pharmacy dispensers and healthcare assistants. Janice Oman, the NPA’s Country Manager in Scotland said: “We have created this resource because community pharmacy needs to continually attract the next generation into the workforce.  Despite all of the pressures of working in such a responsible job, a career in pharmacy gives you a chance to work with passionate, dedicated colleagues to help many people in a very direct way. The focus on patient welfare means pharmacy is a profession in which a variety of people skills are developed, extending far beyond a knowledge of medicines.”…

NPA/CCA Community Pharmacy school resource

The NPA/CCA Community Pharmacy – A career choice in Scotland are resources to promote community pharmacy to school pupils. These resource includes a PowerPoint presentation, information handouts, activity sheet, and further information on how to become part of the community pharmacy team in Scotland.…

A guide to digital health

The NPA has launched a guide to digital health Apps

The NPA has launched “A guide to digital health Apps”, or digital health tools, to assist members who are seeking a new and innovative ways of reaching a wider audience to improve the health of individuals.…