Nearly three-quarters of respondents to a survey by the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) expressed the view that Community Pharmacy England (CPE) is not currently representative of community pharmacies in England.

Among almost 380 responses, 73.8% opted for ‘no’ in answer to the question of, ‘Do you think CPE is currently representative of community pharmacies in England?’

Nearly a quarter (23.5%) chose the ‘yes’ option, while ‘other’ accounted for the remaining responses.

Nearly all (98.7%) respondents to the survey stated they were independent pharmacy owners, and just over half (51.2%) said they were AIMp members.

The poll was sent to 600 contractors for a period of 24 hours, and received 379 responses in total.

AIMp conducted the survey following the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) nomination of the superintendent pharmacist of Pharmacy2U to become one of its representatives on CPE’s committee, replacing a Boots Pharmacy representative.

AIMp has argued that the CCA’s retention of nine out of 24 seats on the CPE committee is not now representative of community pharmacy.

Recent months have seen a ‘transition’ in community pharmacy ownership, with ‘branches belonging to members of the CCA markedly decline’, AIMp argued, with these branches ‘by large taken over by independently owned pharmacy businesses’.

One shift has been Hallo Healthcare Group’s divestment of the 1,054 high street and community pharmacies that had operated under its LloydsPharmacy brand. These branches, said Hallo, were all ‘bought individually or in regional packages by independent pharmacy owners and local entrepreneurs’.

However, AIMp has objected to Pharmacy2U taking up a CCA position on the CPE committee ‘without any form of consultation’.

In its survey, AIMp asked, ‘What do you think about P2U now being on Community Pharmacy England?’ Among 379 responses, 89.2% said they ‘strongly disagreed’ with it.

A CCA spokesperson said: ‘The CCA does not determine the number of seats that it can nominate to at CPE.  That is an internal matter for the CPE committee to decide upon.

‘Moreover, who the CCA nominates to the CPE committee is an internal matter for the CCA, and requires no wider consultation.

‘We note that the CPE Committee voted on this matter recently, in September.’

CPE declined to comment on the concerns raised by AIMp but pointed to its recent statement on its committee’s composition following confirmation of Hallo’s divestment.