“I understand Mr Hancock was quite keen to [film the video] in a pharmacy, to support the messages he's been sending out about pharmacy and also as a good setting to get the important ‘hands, face, space’ message out,” Sanjay Ganvir, superintendent pharmacist at Green Light Pharmacy, told C+D last week (September 17).
Mr Hancock visited the Victoria branch of employee-owned co-operative Green Light Pharmacy earlier this month (September 10), primarily to shoot the video about the government’s latest COVID-19 public information campaign for social networking platform TikTok, Mr Ganvir said.
The Department of Health and Social Care shared the video on Mr Hancock’s TikTok page on September 12. In the video, Mr Hancock invites everyone to “follow the rules to keep the virus under control”.
“Supportive” and “chatty”
The health secretary was “really open and chatty” during his visit with Green Light pharmacist Paras Shah, Mr Ganvir said.
Mr Shah drew Mr Hancock’s attention to some of the biggest financial challenges experienced by community pharmacies in the past few years, triggered by the funding cuts, Mr Ganvir explained.
“Mr Shah also talked about the challenges community pharmacy [faced during the pandemic] and the fact that pharmacy's doors were open to the public all the way through the pandemic”, Mr Ganvir added.
Mr Shah also shared some of his ideas for how to maximise the potential of community pharmacy, for example through the introduction of telehealth. “Mr Hancock acknowledged that community pharmacies are a key part of the NHS and thanked the whole community pharmacy sector for our work during the pandemic,” Mr Ganvir said.
“He came across as really supportive of community pharmacy. He was really well informed and gave the impression that he got…[and] wants to utilise the potential of community pharmacy,” he added.
“Of course the challenge is there is this arm’s length relationship between the DH and NHS England, so I guess as a sector we’re looking for NHS England to step up to the plate and put into action the positive stuff the ministers are saying”, Mr Ganvir said.
Speaking on radio station LBC’s Call The Cabinet television segment earlier this month (September 7), Mr Hancock said he wanted to “do a deal with pharmacies where we offer more NHS services to be delivered in pharmacies and we pay people for that”.