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Xrayser: Unity is vital. Is now the time for the IPA to go up against the NPA?

This month, Xrayser talks about how the importance of unity in dealing with the government, and ahead of the much-deserved upcoming awards season.

It’s that time of year again! Pharmacists and pharmacy professionals are attending conferences right before celebrating at award ceremonies. I may, or may not, be attending any of those conferences (that’s classified information) - but I do network well and have sources everywhere (as well as being a skilled social media stalker).

Read more: Xrayser: Error! The page you requested cannot be found

The first conference was The Pharmacy Forum which was held in Barcelona - now before we all judge a conference being held abroad in the sun while things are tough for community pharmacy, it should be noted that the funding for this conference did not in any way come from any funds that could have otherwise been redirected to community pharmacy.

I heard that at the conference, there was lots of discussion from trade bodies sharing what they are doing to fight and lobby for community pharmacy. But the question I ask is this: Is community pharmacy showing a united front? I think that this will make a difference. In my many years of being a community pharmacist, this has always been lacking (besides from the short-lived Pharmacy Voice).

Read more: Xrayser: Ready, set, go! Will Pharmacy First win the race?

The recent news of The Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) changing its name to Independent Pharmacies Association (IPA), and opening membership to all independent pharmacies could offer a solution to the problem. But with a general election looming is now the time for them to try and go up against the National Pharmacy Association (NPA)? What does this show the government? I think that it shows them our sector is not united.

Locally, contractors are scared to start charging for deliveries because if they do, someone down the road will do it for free. Now, more than ever, we need to stand together and start saying no (as all other healthcare professionals do). Ultimately, we all need to remember that the negotiator is Community Pharmacy England (CPE), so surely that’s who all the trade bodies need to get behind and support.

Read more: Xrayser: Happy New Year!

Last Sunday, Pharmacy Business held a one-day conference in Wembley (not so sunny and in fact a bit wet – the weather not the conference!). Throughout the day, notifications on LinkedIn and X kept popping up with lots of positivity from all the sessions. Feedback is that it was forward thinking and inspired contractors to think about technology being used to become more efficient. Technology and artificial intelligence (AI) are the future, there’s no denying that, but contractors need breathing space to consider what is right for their pharmacy.

Do I think that pharmacists are a breed of professionals who find it hard to let go? In my experience, I would say traditionally, yes, but I am seeing a change, especially as more is being herded our way. There is no choice but to involve the whole team and to start letting go of traditional practices.

Read more: A Pharmacy Carol: Confronting the ghosts of the past, present and future

I will close things off by reminding you that while community pharmacy has its challenges, we must keep moving forward and remain positive. What we do helps hundreds of people every day and that should not be forgotten or taken lightly.

But before you start thinking about new PMR systems or robots, take a look at all the industry awards. It’s time to send in your applications and nominations. Our very own C&D awards are open for nominations, so make sure you apply! I may or may not see you at the awards. But remember, if I’m not there I will still have my sources who will spill the tea.


The identity of Xrayser remains a mystery, but their irreverent views are known by all. You can Tweet them @Xrayserpharmacy


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