The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has called on pharmacists to engage with their MPs to help ensure pharmacy is part of health service debates ahead of the next general election.
It has developed a pledge, dubbed a ‘Pharmacy Manifesto’, asking MPs to sign a ‘prescription for the nation’s health’.
If elected, these MPs would campaign to build on pharmacist prescribing services, review prescription charges in England and strengthen the UK’s medicines supply chain.
RPS president Professor Claire Anderson said that the manifesto comes at a ‘critical time’ for the NHS, ‘with a focus on patient safety, recurring medicines shortages, advances in technology, and growing pressures on the workforce’.
She added that alongside challenges, the government would also be faced with opportunities to support patients, ‘including growing the number of pharmacist prescribers, delivering care closer to home, and making the most of new advances such as pharmacogenomics’.
‘The future of our health service will be a key issue at the next election and I would encourage members to engage with their local candidates to help pharmacy be a part of that debate,’ Ms Anderson said in a statement alongside the publication of the manifesto yesterday.
In the manifesto, the RPS set out how the government could improve patient access to medicines and pharmacy services, better connect different parts of the NHS, support the workforce and invest in new research.
In particular, it called for prescription charges in England to be scrapped, for a chief pharmacist role to be ring-fenced in every integrated care system (ICS), and for investment to be made in pharmacists and pharmacy teams.
The RPS also called for MPs to support a review of the UK’s medicines supply chain, to agree ‘fair funding for community pharmacy’ and to fund IT infrastructure to enable all health professionals to access and update a patient’s record.
The RPS has published graphics highlighting key asks which can be shared on social media alongside the hashtag #VotePharmacy, as well as a template for pharmacists to write to their MP and invite them to visit their workplace.
The Health and Social Care Committee, a cross-party group of MPs, said on X/Twitter last night that it would be considering many of the points raised by the RPS manifesto as part of its ongoing pharmacy inquiry.