Dame Barbara Hakin, the former deputy chief executive and chief operating officer of NHS England, has been appointed Chair of the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA).

In her role at the NHS, Dame Hakin oversaw national performance, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), specialised commissioning and all primary care commissioning and contracting.

She spent 20 years as a GP before becoming clinical chair of Bradford Primary Care Group and then chief executive of the Primary Care Trust. She has worked on initiatives to move care into primary care settings, including community pharmacy, and has worked closely with ministers and policymakers for almost two decades.

She replaces John Bacon, who joined in 2018 and was chair of the CCA throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dame Hakin said that she was ‘delighted’ to be appointed chair of the CCA.

She added: ‘Pharmacies are vital to the local communities that they serve, as demonstrated during the Covid-19 pandemic. I look forward to working closely with the CCA Board and its executive team to help shape the future of community pharmacy, for the benefit of patients and the public.’

Malcolm Harrison, CEO of the CCA, said he looked forward to working closely with Dame Hakin during ‘a crucial time for the sector.’ He said: ‘Never has the need for further investment and a workforce strategy for the community pharmacy sector been more apparent than now.

‘I would also like to thank John Bacon who has been a great support to the organisation and to me personally over the past four years.  His insight and guidance have been invaluable’.

The CCA has recently called on new health and social care ministers to consider community pharmacies as a solutions providers that can help relieve pressures across the sector.

However, it added that the real-terms funding cut over the last eight years was having ‘a deeply concerning impact on the sector’s ability to care for patients’, and that pharmacy’s full potential can only be realised with investment, including a fully funded and integrated workforce plan.