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AIMp calls for pharmacy bodies to work together on ‘simple manifesto’

Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) chief executive Dr Leyla Hannbeck has called for pharmacy leaders to “come together as one sector” and agree on a single manifesto.

In a statement released this morning (September 12), AIMp called for a “roundtable discussion” between pharmacy sector leaders, saying they currently “lack cohesion” and need to "work together as one to make [their] voice heard".

AIMp boss Dr Hannbeck said that “it’s no use each pharmacy organisation having their own manifesto, effectively a long wish-list, which is often unrealistic and unachievable” and allows those in power to “pick us off against each other”.

Instead, she called for “one simple manifesto” for the pharmacy sector and for leaders to “agree to it, stick to it and fight on it”.

Dr Hannbeck also said that pharmacy bodies should work together to relaunch the “Save Our Pharmacies” campaign, adding that they “must accept” that the campaign “was not as successful as we would have liked” and “failed to make a significant impact”.

The campaign should have “renewed energy and determination” as well as “more involvement from fellow sector CEOs from a strategy perspective”, she added.

 

“We cannot go on like this”

 

AIMp also called for sector leaders to “show parliamentarians that we stand together as a sector and speak with one voice” in a “concerted and joined up approach”.

Dr Hannbeck asked pharmacy bodies to “get behind the Pharmacy All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to make it stronger and more successful” rather than trying to “influence [policymakers] in silo”.

“Community pharmacy cannot go on like this,” she said. “We must be joined-up to combat the key challenges we face. The best way of doing this is within parliament itself, using politicians from all parties to push our case.”

She added that the roundtable discussion should lead to “joint agreement by the sector organisations”, with a “lack of funding going forward and mounting workforce issues” at the “top of the agenda” from AIMp’s perspective.

But she stressed that the priorities “are for us all to decide” and that leaders “have to come together as one sector, going down one path”.

Dr Hannbeck reiterated that “community pharmacies are in crisis” and stressed the need for a cash injection of “at least £1.1 billion”, adding that “part of the reason we can be so easily ignored is that we lack cohesion”.

 

“Disappointed”

 

In a joint statement also released today, Community Pharmacy England (CPE), the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) and the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) said they were “disappointed to see this latest press release from AIMp”.

“There is some irony in calls for unity coming via the media rather than simply speaking directly to us,” the statement said.

The three pharmacy bodies said that they “work closely together, influencing government and NHS policy via all possible routes to ensure the best possible outcomes for the sector”, including “supporting the work of the pharmacy APPG” andinfluencing the primary care recovery plan, which they highlighted was “the first new investment in many years”.

Read more: Pharmacy bodies join forces to fight for more funding as closure threat looms

They claimed that “limiting” their work to “just one parliamentary channel” would be “naïve”, instead stating that it “makes sense to use a variety of channels and tactics to influence public policy”.

“Our three organisations are committed to continuing this critical work collaboratively”, they added, emphasising that “effective collaboration…is achieved by maintaining good lines of communication and building trusted relationships.”

AIMp’s call for unity follows an exclusive July interview with C+D in which Dr Hannbeck said that community pharmacy organisations must stop their “doormat approach”.

And it comes after CPE admitted last week (September 4) that progress has been “slower than hoped” towards the £645 million primary care recovery plan investment into pharmacies.

 

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