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Former health minister Jackie Doyle-Price elected APPG chair

Former health minister Jackie Doyle-Price has been elected chair of the All-Party Pharmacy Group (APPG).

Ms Doyle-Price has been Conservative MP for Thurrock since 2010 and became minister for mental health and inequalities in former prime minister Theresa May’s government after the 2017 general election.

In October 2018, she was named minister for mental health, inequalities and suicide prevention – becoming the first UK minister for suicide prevention and holding this post until 2019.

Her appointment as APPG chair was announced alongside eight APPG officers at a meeting of the group last week (July 14), at which community pharmacy’s role “in the next phase of the response to COVID-19” was also discussed.

Ms Doyle-Price, who follows former APPG chair and Labour MP Sir Kevin Barron in this role, said she is “delighted” to serve as APPG chair.

“In the year ahead, I am looking forward to exploring new opportunities to strengthen the role of pharmacists in the health system, capitalising on their clinical expertise to reduce pressures on GPs and hospitals and support the prevention of ill-health,” she said on July 17.

“The APPG is preparing a fantastic programme of work and I look forward to working with colleagues across both houses to support the pharmacy sector at this crucial time for the NHS,” Ms Doyle-Price added.

The APPG is supported with funding from the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, the Company Chemists’ Association, the National Pharmacy Association, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

The five organisations welcomed the appointment of Ms Doyle-Price, and said they look forward to supporting all APPG officers “to broaden the conversation in parliament of the vital role that pharmacy plays in helping to alleviate pressures on the NHS”.

“Alongside opportunities to support the NHS there are also challenges to explore and overcome, including sustainable funding and embracing new ways of working,” they added.

In April, Ms Doyle-Price warned the public that community pharmacies are under “immense” pressure and that the sector is “in crisis” due to a combination of factors, chiefly economic ones.

The eight APPG officers that were elected with Ms Doyle-Price are MPs Sir David Amess, Paul Bristow, Feryal Clark, Jason McCartney, Taiwo Owatemi, Julian Sturdy, Lord Clement-Jones and Baroness Cumberlege.

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