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Wes Streeting: Pharmacies 'capable of so much more' than selling shampoo

The shadow health secretary has said that pharmacies are “capable of so much more” than dispensing medicines and selling shampoo.

Wes Streeting made the comments during a visit to Jaysons Pharmacy in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, on Saturday, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) announced yesterday (January 30).

He was visiting Jaysons with Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for local constituency Erewash, Adam Thompson, to “find out more about the issues facing pharmacies”, the NPA said.

Mr Streeting said: “Many people still think that pharmacies are a place to get medicines you’ve been prescribed and maybe pick up some shampoo. That’s important work, but pharmacies are capable of doing so much more.”

He described pharmacists as “highly trained, highly skilled, professional people” who could have a wider role in prevention and dealing with common ailments.


“Fixing” primary care a top priority for Labour


In a video message recorded during the visit, Mr Streeting said that “fixing the front door to the NHS in primary care is one of Labour’s top priorities”.

“I want to work with community pharmacies to see what more you can do to help millions of patients across the country who are desperate to be seen,” he added.

And he called on pharmacy teams to share “ideas” as well as “frustrations and barriers that get in your way and prevent you from doing as much for the community as you could”, saying he is “looking forward to keeping up the conversation” with the NPA.

“We’re going to need you,” he added.


Pharmacies “not just a sideshow”


Owner of Jaysons Pharmacy Nitin Lakhani said he was “delighted” to welcome the visitors and “proud to show them around our pharmacy and tell them about the vital work our team does every day to keep people well in this community”.

NPA chief executive Mark Lyonette, who met the shadow health secretary at the Derbyshire pharmacy on Saturday, said it’s “important” for politicians to “spend time with [NPA] members at the coalface” to “get a real taste of the day-to-day challenges”.

“[Mr Streeting] listened carefully to what Nitin and I had to say, and seems to understand that pharmacies are a key part of the NHS frontline, not just a sideshow,” he added.

Earlier this month, Mr Streeting said that he believes pharmacies should be responsible for doing "a lot more vaccination".

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