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#SaveOurPharmacies: NPA announces second protest on September 19

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has told pharmacies to “save the date” for a second day of protest action to be held on September 19.

The NPA today (July 4) revealed plans for a second “day of action” to highlight the “ongoing financial crisis in community pharmacy” to the new government.

It asked members to “save the date” for September 19, which falls “ during the political party conference season this autumn”.

Read more: ‘Save Our Pharmacies’ protest: as it happened

The NPA said that the second day of protest aims to “demonstrate the increasingly urgent need for government action to maintain patient access to pharmacies”.

But it added that it would “consult widely across the sector on powerful symbolic action to take”.

Read more: ‘We were all dressed in black, the lights were off, and we had Channel Five’

The membership body “will remain absolutely committed to ensuring that patients and staff are safe and are not put at any risk”, it stressed.

It comes after the “highly successful” emergency #SaveOurPharmacies protest that took place on June 20, which saw around 6,000 pharmacies turn out their lights, black out their windows and wear black to raise awareness about the crisis in the sector. 


Petition tops 160K


The NPA today said that the #SaveOurPharmacies petition, launched as part of the cross-sector campaign online and in local pharmacies across the UK, “has now topped 160,000 signatures - with more still coming in every day”.

It added that this was partly “thanks to pharmacies collecting signatures” on the “unprecedented” day of protest, which marked “the first UK-wide protest of its kind in community pharmacy and attracted support from across the independent sector”.

Read more: PDA to launch own ‘campaign’ after June 20 pharmacy lights out protest

NPA chief executive Paul Rees said that the membership body hopes that the new ministerial team “whoever they are after the election will seize the opportunity to invest in our network and help ease the dreadful waiting times for GP and hospital appointments”.

“We are absolutely committed to working hand in hand with whoever forms the next government – and colleagues across the sector - to deliver a better deal for community pharmacies and unleash the power of our network,” he added.

Read more: Communities across England share their “Save Our Pharmacies” experience online

But he stressed that the sector “cannot leave anyone in any doubt about the need to fund pharmacies properly and ease the financial crisis that has seen more than 1,400 close in the past decade”.

“We must ask our members to save the date and give ourselves a fresh moment to make it crystal clear that our network needs urgent support if it is to help deliver for patients across the UK.,” Rees said.

Read more: Pharmacies to ‘turn out the lights’ on June 20 in ‘emergency’ protest

First announced in early June, the initial “emergency” day of protest action on June 20 organised by the NPA sought to “signify dark times for the beleaguered community pharmacy sector”.

Last month, the pharmacy union published an open letter to the NPA saying that employee and locum pharmacists “should not come under pressure to participate” in its June 20 protest and raising concerns around patient safety.

But it later said that it would launch its own separate but “supportive” campaign at a later date, after “discussions” with the NPA.

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