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Pharmacists complete 220 blood pressure checks at Lib Dem conference

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable chatted to the NPA about pharmacy delivery services
Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable chatted to the NPA about pharmacy delivery services

Pharmacists have performed over 220 blood pressure checks during the first two days of the Liberal Democrat party's annual conference, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has said.

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable and deputy leader Jo Swinson were just two of the MPs to visit the NPA's stand in the first two days of the party conference, which kicked off in Bournemouth last weekend.

NPA head of parliamentary affairs Chris Ford told C+D this morning (September 18) that ex-leader and now Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Paddy Ashdown, also "had some fun" on the stand (see below), where the NPA has recruited pharmacists such as Graham Phillips and Nick Kaye to perform blood pressure checks on conference attendees.

While over 220 checks have been conducted in two days, Mr Ford said there was more to the initiative than photo opportunities with the party’s big names.

"Our pharmacists are working completely flat out – they're exhausted, but they're doing a fabulous job putting our sector in a fantastic position with people who make decisions locally," Mr Ford said. "I'm incredibly grateful to them for giving up their time to do it."

Watch Baron "Paddy" Ashdown encourage his colleagues to get their blood pressure checked
Positive feedback 

Mr Ford said the feedback at the conference had been really positive so far, including from Mr Cable, who he said reflected on his own local pharmacy and how it was not properly remunerated for its vital delivery services.

Many other attendees also spoke of the importance of their local pharmacy, especially in terms of managing long-term conditions and keeping people "up and running", Mr Ford said. 

However, "it is important to convert goodwill of the conference attendees into tangible outcomes and actions", Mr Ford stressed.

"It's crucially important we maintain that support and reinforce our messages about having a positive view for the future of pharmacy, because [the Liberal Democrats] can help us deliver that in parliament, in clinical commissioning group areas, and local authorities."

Though little indication of specific policy proposals had been divulged by senior members of the party, Mr Ford said he expected to gain a better sense of the Liberal Democrats’ plans for the future of the sector at the NPA's fringe event later today. 

Conference coverage on Twitter...
Have you contacted your local MP about community pharmacy?

Brian Austen, Senior Management

There are machines in GP surgeries where patients can take their own BP and pass results to Reception. Where a Machine is not used they are done by health care assistants. 

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

What a joke. C&D do you see this as some sort of victory for community pharmacy. Lmao. A bunch of 10year olds could conduct blood pressure tests !! The Lib Dems have less power than community pharmacists haha. What do you expect them to do for you??  

Boots are busy getting remote supervison rubber stamped off and these morons are playing around with BP meters

You guys are funnier every day. 

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Influencing the wrong people. 

Uma Patel, Community pharmacist


Another free service

Pharmacist Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

And very good use of pharmacist skills. (NOT)

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