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
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.