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Rising costs, staff shortages and a royal reception: 2022 in review

National Pharmacy Association (NPA) boss Mark Lyonette provides his reflections on 2022 and his hopes for 2023 in the first of our C+Dmas series

To say it’s been a difficult year for community pharmacy would be to put it very mildly indeed. 

Our members are feeling overworked, under-appreciated and underfunded. Spiralling medicines costs are putting pressure on cash-flow and staff shortages have become endemic.

Rises in operational costs are far outstripping NHS funding.

An NPA-commissioned report this autumn highlighted the likely consequences of all this for the NHS and for patients.

Read more: Taking the pressure off: What do pharmacists want their future to look like?

This month’s situation with disrupted antibiotic supplies means the year is ending with even more stress for everyone! The situation is publicly exposing the fragility of the medicines supply chain and the absurdity of dispensing at a loss.
But in the spirit of the Christmas season, I want to try to be positive.
So here are my reflections on some of the good things that have happened during the year.
In May, along with 200 pharmacists and other stakeholders, I met the then-Prince Charles at St James’s Palace to celebrate the work of community pharmacy during the pandemic.
I think it’s an understatement to say we enjoyed the event – even now I get messages from NPA members who were there, telling me how wonderful the evening was. It was truly great to see our sector receive such high profile, much deserved, recognition.
For me the icing on the cake was the stellar coverage of the event on the BBC’s One Show. Pharmacy now has a higher media profile than ever and there’s an increased interest in what we have to say.
The NPA has briefed dozens of members for TV and radio appearances and I thank them all for being persuasive spokespeople for the profession.
The signs of growing support within the NHS at local level could turn out to be very significant.
The Fuller Stocktake gave a clear instruction that integrated care systems must break through silos in primary care and pointed to potential new opportunities for community pharmacies in urgent care and prevention, including early diagnosis of cancers.
In another NPA highlight, in recognising the importance of inclusivity, diversity, equality and allyship in our work, we have established the NPA Women Members’ Forum and issued fresh guidance to members about fair employment practices.

Read more: Not fair: Public backs calls for increased pharmacy funding as pressures intensify

I’m proud to say this is just one of the many initiatives we have taken forward this year to support inclusive pharmacy practice.
On this positive note, I wish all my colleagues in community pharmacy the very best for Christmas and a happy New Year.


Mark Lyonette is chief executive of the NPA



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