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‘It's time we did something different’: AIMp rallies at Westminster

Pharmacy representatives gathered at Westminster to “Fight4Pharmacy” and exert “a different kind of influence to sitting around a table”. 

The Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) launched its “Fight4Pharmacy” campaign by rallying in front of Westminster today (March 20).

Attendees called for the government to “stop pharmacy closures” and highlighted the 412 pharmacies that AIMp calculated had closed in England between 2019 and 2023. 

“The sector needs hope,” pharmacy contractor and AIMp member Ian Strachan told C+D, adding that the rally was “the only thing happening today…probably happening this year” that “exerts a different kind of influence to sitting around a table.”

“I think that's really important,” he said. 

 

“It's time we did something different”

 

Community Pharmacy Sandwell and Walsall services lead Sukhy Somal told C+D that if the sector “continues on the path it's going” pharmacists may be heading towards strike action. 

“Never in my life have I seen a pharmacist strike,” she said, but she added “contractors are telling me that they’re frustrated”.

“The feeling out there is ‘If we did what the doctors do, we might get listened to and more would change. Maybe it's time we did something different,’” Somal said. 

Imaan Healthcare operations director Saghir Ahmed told C+D that “funding cuts pretty much decimated the sector”.

“Rather than wait for the whole car crash to happen we should be doing something about this now,” he added. 

  

Closures led to 2.5 ml GP appointments

 

AIMp today also released new analysis of “NHS data on pharmacy closures with data from an audit of thousands of community pharmacies”.

It said the analysis found that “these closures may already have generated some 2.5 million extra GP appointments”.

AIMp’s chief executive Dr Leyla Hannbeck stressed that “the rotten funding and contract has been dragging on for so long that a lot of people are feeling at the moment that is just impossible to operate”.

“There's only so much that you can take on the chin,” she added. 

Strachan said the sector needs a “significant investment” of  £2.6bn to “recognise the fact that in real terms [the sector] has lost 30% of our income since 2018".

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