An event to allow London’s patients to voice their concerns about the pharmacy funding cuts was so popular that latecomers were forced to stand.
Organisers Pharmacy London and the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) only expected around 120 patients to attend the event at Chelsea Town Hall last Sunday (May 15). But they “lost count” of how many additional attendees arrived and were soon forced to set out extra chairs and open up the balcony area.
NPA chief pharmacist Leyla Hannbeck told C+D at the event that the government is “failing to see the impact” of the cuts on patients. “This campaign is all about patients and I’m happy that so many made the effort to come today,” she said.
Petition support continues
Ms Hannbeck used the event to announce that the paper petition against the planned £170 million cut to pharmacy funding in England has now received 1.5 million signatures.
The NPA will add the comments made by patients during the two-hour event into a book that it is planning to submit to the government along with the petition on May 24, she added.
Raising awareness among politicians
Pharmacy London chief executive Rekha Shah told C+D that London MPs are more likely to pay attention to the concerns of patients in their constituency, rather than those of pharmacy representatives.
“If three of four people write to the same MP after this event, that’s going to push them to do something,” she said.
Ms Shah wrote to the newly-elected London mayor Sadiq Khan to inform him about the event, and had been promised a “substantive response” from the Greater London Authority.
“That means I can write to [Mr Khan] and tell him some of the stuff that came up [today],” she added.
C+D will publish videos of patients’ comments from the event on its website later this week
Find out how the funding cuts and the latest category M clawback are going to hit contractors here