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MPs 'delighted' by pharmacy flu service

Politicians have used local pharmacy visits to express their support for the national scheme, according to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society

MPs have been "delighted" to hear about the national flu service during local pharmacy visits, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said.

Four MPs used visits to branches in their constituencies to express support for the service since it was announced last month, the RPS said.

Politicians also used the visits to discuss the benefits of patient records access for the sector, and query why a minor ailments scheme has not been commissioned for every pharmacy, the RPS said on its website.

Labour MP for Easington Grahame Morris visited Whitworth Chemist in Murton last week (August 7), and the chain's area development manager Andy Watson told C+D that the politician is “remarkably well informed” and “very supportive of pharmacy’s role in healthcare”.

Posting on his blog after the visit, Mr Morris said he is “delighted” that NHS England has approved a national pharmacy flu service, but "disappointed" that it has not commissioned a national minor ailments scheme.

He also hailed the rollout of the summary care record (SCR) to all English pharmacies – due to start in the autumn – as a way to “help prevent medicine errors and make sure people get the most from their treatment".

Educating MPs about pharmacy

Conservative MP Ben Howlett visited Lifestyle Pharmacy in Bath last week (August 4), and superintendent Nick Daines said the MP “was not aware we were due to get the flu vaccination service" before the visit.

“We also talked a lot about the need for a national minor ailments scheme and the rollout of the SCR,” Mr Daines told C+D. “I would like to think he left more aware of pharmacy.”

The RPS said Mr Howlett had been "enthusiastic" about the flu service, as had Labour MP Paula Sherriff and Conservative MP for Cheltenham Alex Chalk during pharmacy visits in their own constituencies.

Ms Sherriff, Labour MP for Dewsbury and new treasurer of the all-party pharmacy group, visited Dewsbury Moor Pharmacy last week (August 5). She had been "intrigued" why the local clinical commissioning group has not commissioned a pharmacy-led minor ailments service in the area, the RPS said.

In June, Pharmacy Voice encouraged pharmacists to secure visits with new MPs to keep pharmacy in the "front of mind at Westminster".


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