The long-serving chair of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) has retired as chair of the board after more than 20 years in post.

Peter Cattee will remain on the AIMp board while co-founder David Vanns takes on the role as chair.

The outgoing chair thanked his AIMp co-founders and board members Yakub Patel, Kirit Patel, Steve Williams and David Vanns, and said: ‘I've done my best in what has become an increasingly difficult sector, but I have always believed that amongst you are the best of community pharmacy and that if there is a way to do something you are the people to find that way.

‘I have no doubts that your energy, imagination and talent will ultimately prevail against the struggling leviathan we currently face, whatever its next turn.’

A spokesperson for AIMp thanked Mr Catee for his ‘services and dedication’ throughout the years.

They said that while the organisation had grown to represent and support pharmacy groups of all sizes, they were united by their identity as independent pharmacies.

‘We look forward to continuing our work in representing and supporting our members in the best way possible,’ the spokesperson added.

New chair Mr Vanns described the family-owned national and regional independents that AIMp represents as ‘the absolute bedrock of community pharmacy’.

He said that the families who own these pharmacies ‘risk their own money, often through generations, developing innovative pharmacies, deeply connected with their local communities, dedicated to keeping the sick and the elderly in their own homes’.

But he added that ‘failure by the current government and NHS management to understand our integral role in national healthcare has never been so evident’.

He thanked AIMp chief executive Leyla Hannbeck for promoting ‘the valuable role that AIMp member pharmacies play in our national healthcare system’.

AIMp represents independent pharmacy groups with three or more branches, while those with less than three branches can become an associate member.