Pharmacists are a vital part of the healthcare system and should be supported to do more, the sector has told The Pharmacist on World Pharmacists Day.

The day, created by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), this year focuses on the theme of ‘Pharmacy strengthening health systems’.

Pharmacy leaders have taken the opportunity today to celebrate the profession and highlight the role that pharmacists play in providing expert medicines advice and healthcare to patients.

‘A local lifeline and vital to the health of the nation’

Mark Lyonette, chief executive of the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), told The Pharmacist that it wanted to ‘honour the fantastic work of pharmacists around the world’.

‘They are highly skilled and trusted healthcare professionals who should never be taken for granted,’ he said.

And he added: ‘Here in the UK, community pharmacies are a critical part of the health system – a local lifeline and vital to the health of the nation. Given the right level of investment, they are capable of so much more.’

‘Our profession inspires me every day’

Professor Claire Anderson, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), described World Pharmacists Day as ‘a moment to reflect on our accomplishments as a profession and express gratitude for the remarkable efforts of pharmacy teams in promoting and preserving health.’

‘The challenges we face as the experts in medicines are significant, but our profession inspires me every day through its focus and impact on patient care,’ she said.

Pharmacy teams make ‘a world of difference’ to patients

Janet Morrison, chief executive of Community Pharmacy England (CPE), thanked pharmacy teams for ‘the work they do for patients and communities every single day’, saying ‘it makes a world of difference to them’.

And she said that the dedication of community pharmacists and their teams had been ‘unwavering’ in the face of ‘immense challenges’ over the past year.

She highlighted CPE’s recent vision for the future of community pharmacy and its negotiating work on the next community pharmacy contractual framework, adding: ‘I hope that in the years to come we will see community pharmacists fully valued, supported and funded, and that the full potential of the community pharmacy sector in England will be utilised.’

Pharmacists achieve ‘life-changing’ work in underserved neighbourhoods

Malcolm Harrison, chief executive of the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) commended pharmacy professionals, who ‘work tirelessly to support patients day in and day out’.

‘We also take the opportunity to reflect on the life-changing work pharmacists have achieved – especially in underserved neighbourhoods. It is imperative that we continue to advocate for the role of the pharmacist in improving health across the country,’ he added.

A ‘key player’ in the healthcare system

Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, described the profession as a ‘key player’ in the healthcare system in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

‘Our role continues to evolve with more decision makers seeing its value to population health,’ she added.

‘Integral to healthcare provision’

‘Pharmacists are integral to healthcare provision and they are guardians of medicines and prescribing safety; they are advocates for patient education and shared decision making across all systems,’ said Laura Buckley, primary care lead at the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists and a regional ambassador for the Primary Care Pharmacy Association (PCPA).

And she said that World Pharmacists Day was an opportunity tocelebrate the impact that pharmacists have in healthcare, on patients and their families, their colleagues in pharmacy, and in the wider multidisciplinary team’.

Pharmacists critical for healthcare around the world’

Paul Day, director of the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA), described pharmacists as ‘critical for healthcare around the world’.

And he added that the PDA was ‘delighted’ to now be part of FIP, which created the day of celebration.

APPG chair thanks pharmacists for ‘tireless’ work

Pharmacy APPG chair Taiwo Owatemi thanked pharmacists for their ‘hard work’ caring for communities.

In a post on X she said that as an NHS cancer pharmacist, she knew first hand ‘how tirelessly pharmacists work to support our NHS and deliver vital services to people across the country’.

Crucial role in the NHS

Chief pharmaceutical officer (CPhO) for England, David Webb, said in a video on X that pharmacists in all settings play a crucial role across the NHS.

And he said that he had seen ‘amazing contributions’ made by pharmacists to patient care and multidisciplinary teams.

He added that pharmacy in England had an ‘exciting future’, highlighting changes to professional practice such as the advent of independent prescribing on a more widespread sale, which he said would benefit patients everywhere.

‘Pharmacists can offer expert help quickly’

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) also posted on X to highlight the ‘vital role’ that pharmacists play in the community, offering ‘expert help quickly on a range of minor illnesses, with no appointment needed’.

‘Vital contribution to delivering and improving health care’

Chief pharmaceutical officer (CPhO) for Northern Ireland, Professor Cathy Harrison also shared a video on X saying that pharmacists ‘make a vital contribution to delivering and improving healthcare’.

And NHS Health Careers will be hosting a live Q&A with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians this evening.

‘Fighting health inequalities’

World Pharmacists Day has been led by FIP every year since 2009, on 25 September to mark the anniversary of the inception of FIP in 1912.

Earlier this year, to mark the 75th birthday of the NHS, representatives from across the profession shared their hopes for the future of the NHS – including wishing for pharmacy to always have ‘a seat at the table’, for the health service to make ‘full use’ of pharmacy professionals, and for increased support, funding and resources for the profession.