Reform and investment in community pharmacy can help address the issue of waiting times for GP and hospital appointments, a group of industry bodies have told the new health and social care secretary.

In a joint letter seen by The Pharmacist, Community Pharmacy England, the Company Chemists’ Association, the Independent Pharmacies Association, the National Pharmacy Association and the Royal Pharmaceutical Association have congratulated Wes Streeting on his recent appointment and expressed their willingness to assist the new government in dealing with the various healthcare challenges it faces.

However, investment and ‘urgent fair funding’ will be required to help them deliver, they insist.

In addition, the industry bodies call for a government response to workload demands in the sector via the 2024/25 contractual framework, as well as medicine supply chain reform.

They also repeated demands for an expansion of the Pharmacy First service to further free up GP capacity and increase the shift towards prevention.

The respective chief executives of the organisations, who signed the letter, highlight the closure of 1,400 pharmacies, for which they blame ‘a decade of cuts’ to the sector.

They also express a willingness to meet with Mr Streeting to outline further how community pharmacy can help the government deliver NHS reform.

A recent exclusive survey suggested pharmacists across primary care are united in wanting support for community pharmacy to be a top priority for the new government.

Our recent analysis also mapped out the scale of pharmacy closures across England in the last five years and found closures were almost five times higher in more deprived areas.

The Department of Health and Social Care has been approached for comment.