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ITV to shine a light on community pharmacy in new documentary

An ITV documentary set to air this week will look at the pressures faced by the community pharmacy sector.

ITV looks set to air a half-hour documentary on the state of community pharmacy on Thursday evening (8.30pm, January 11), featuring the experiences of pharmacists across the UK.

The episode - titled “Pharmacies: The New NHS Frontline?” - is part of ITV’s current affairs series “Tonight” and will be hosted by ITV News’s UK editor Paul Brand, according to the Teleboy TV guide.

Read more: ‘Virdee’: Pharmacist crime novelist’s bestsellers to be made into BBC series

Pharmacy contractor Mike Hewitson told C+D today (January 10) that an ITV crew had spent a morning at one of his pharmacies in the week before Christmas, observing the “ins and outs” of a typical day in the pharmacy during festive season. 

He said that the crew spent “quite a considerable time” touring the UK filming in various different pharmacies and speaking to sector bodies “to try to get an idea about the pressures that that we're all under”.

“There's no Toby Jones in it so I don't know if it'll have the same impact as the ITV drama,” he said, referencing ITV’s smash hit series, Mr Bates vs the Post Office, which has ignited interest in the Horizon software scandal.

Read more: 'Pharmacy's role in Channel 4 stolen medicines exposé overplayed'

Nevertheless, Mr Hewitson added that the TV crews witnessed the “constant barrage of people,…deliveries not turning up, stock shortages, all sorts of stuff”.

He said that he hoped the documentary would help the public understand the “human impact of the last decade of misery” in the community pharmacy sector, which he described as a “lost decade”, with pharmacists “stretching themselves physically, financially [and] mentally”. 

Read more: Happy Valley: The men in white coats have come for Auntie Beeb

It comes after the BBC commissioned a six-part series called Virdee, based on the detective novels by pharmacist A.A. Dhand.

The broadcaster said in August that the detective series would be filmed “in and around Bradford” and that it is “an essential part” of the run-up to Bradford’s designation as the “UK City of Culture” 2025.

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