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IPA delivers ‘prescription’ to save the sector to Number 10

The independent pharmacy group spoke to MPs including Priti Patel before taking its demands to Downing Street.  

The Independent Pharmacies Association (IPA) delivered its “prescription to save our pharmacies” to No.10 Downing Street as part of a demonstration attended by C+D yesterday (May 21).

The “prescription” sets out five demands including that the government must:

  • “Tackle the pharmacy funding shortfall to save independent pharmacies”

  • “Fix the reimbursement mechanism leaving independent pharmacists out of pocket”

  • “Tackle medicine supply shortages”

  • “Make Pharmacy First work for independent community pharmacies”

  • “Acknowledge the difference between patient-focussed independent pharmacies and supermarket-style pharmacies that offer large retail services with healthcare” 

Before delivering the “prescription”, the IPA lobbied MPs in parliament, including former home secretary Priti Patel and deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats Daisy Cooper, it told C+D.

The demonstration is part of the “Fight4Pharmacy” campaign launched by the IPA in March that called for the government to “stop pharmacy closures”.

The IPA said that it delivered the petition due to the “immense financial and workload pressure threatening local pharmacies, with an estimated £1.2 billion funding shortfall, an unfair reimbursement mechanism and a broken medicine supply chain”.

The “prescription” was created to outline “how independent community pharmacies can be supported to ensure they can remain open to the local community that depends on them,” it added.

 

“We’re being shafted”

 

IPA members told C+D that they spoke to MPs including Priti Patel, Baroness Llin Golding and Daisy Cooper – who is also Liberal Democrat spokesperson for health - at Portcullis House, Westminster, before the rally.

IPA chief executive Dr Leyla Hannbeck said that the event had “created a lot of buzz” among the attending politicians.

C+D reporter Kate Bowie interviews pharmacy owner Max Punni

And superintendent pharmacist Mitesh Patel added that “having spoken to some today”, he thought the MPs were “getting on board”.

“I really hope that we have an impact after today's event,” he told C+D, adding that “the elephant in the room is funding”.

Pharmacy owner Max Punni told C+D that “if you're not at the table, you're on the menu” and that the IPA is “the only voice [he hears] in the room that makes a difference”.

Punni said that he was tired of independents “subsidising a failing public sector” – “having to take out overdrafts and loans and dip into our own personal assets to keep propping up this shambles”.

“We've been shafted,” he added. 

In March, the IPA launched its “Fight4Pharmacy” campaign by rallying in front of Westminster.

And last week, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) hand-delivered a £108m bill to the government “on behalf of community pharmacies” for a “month’s underpayment”.

The campaigns come as 13 MPs put their names to a letter to health secretary Victoria Atkins calling for more support for community pharmacies in April.

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