The petition to battle against pharmacy funding cuts has reached more than 400,000 signatures, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has revealed.
The pharmacy body’s paper petition – which launched on February 18 – achieved a campaign high of 36,000 signatures on Monday (April 4) alone, compared with a daily average of approximately 20,000 signatures, the NPA said.
It is “fairly confident” that it will pass the half a million mark by the end of the week, it told C+D on the same day.
The wording of the petition appeals to Prime Minister David Cameron to abandon the government’s plans to cut pharmacy funding in England by 6%.
The NPA told C+D it will work “very hard” to get “more hard facts” about the government’s funding plans “on the table”. It is also making “intensified efforts” to mobilise public and political opinion on the issue, it said.
NPA chair Ian Strachan urged members last week to keep up the momentum of the organisation’s campaign. Efforts to overturn the cuts are not futile, and are “creating the results we intended”, by engaging MPs in defending the community pharmacy network, he said.
Engage with local government
A Hertfordshire contractor, who has already met with several MPs to discuss the cuts, has emphasised the need to engage with local government as well as Westminster politicians.
Graham Phillips, owner of Manor Pharmacy Group (Wheathampstead) Ltd, told C+D: “People must contact local councillors, who sit on health and wellbeing boards.”
Mr Phillips' ambition is to get the NPA’s paper petition beyond a million signatures, and he argued that the sector must use social media more effectively.
The contractor highlighted the cuts at his meeting with Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay in Pierremont Pharmacy in Thanet, Kent on March 24.
“He is a chartered accountant, so when I started talking about [the government] taking 6% off my net profit, he gets it,” Mr Phillips added.