This came during a visit to a local pharmacy in Ruislip after accepting an invitation from Leyla Hannbeck, Chief Executive Officer at the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIM).
I was in a packed audience at a recent AIM meeting, at which Leyla conveyed how impressed she was with the Prime Minister's interest in community pharmacy. She explained that this can only be good news for the sector and helping it to achieve its potential for assisting with service provision.
Leyla relayed how delighted she was that the Prime Minister had found time in his busy schedule, and this was not done as a photo opportunity during an election period, but she said he seemed genuinely interested in what pharmacy was doing.
Leyla reported that he had spent about 45 minutes at the pharmacy and asked various questions, including why some people end up rushing to A&E instead of choosing to visit their local pharmacy first. He was also impressed to hear the extent of the services that community pharmacy can now help with, and that they have consultation rooms and provide flu jabs.
The Prime Minister agreed to inform people more widely on what pharmacy can do.
This is good news for community pharmacy and comes at a crucial time, as the sector is still trying to cope with the crippling budget cuts imposed four years ago, and re-focus on more provision of services to support the NHS. It also comes also as community pharmacy seeks to grasp the opportunities from the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework in 2019 that announced a £2.6bn per year financial commitment until 2024, and the opportunities from working more with GPs under Primary Care Networks (PCNs).