Four pharmacy organisations have called for ‘fair, sustainable funding’ for the community pharmacy sector, in an open letter to political parties ahead of the general election.

Community Pharmacy England (CPE), the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA), the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) said in the letter that ‘the sector is in crisis’.

But ‘with investment, community pharmacy can do more’, they said.

And they urged all political parties to adopt their manifesto for community pharmacy, including their six-point plan to:

  1. ‘Fill the funding gap, and commit to a long-term sustainable funding solution, so pharmacies can deliver more of the NHS care patients need.
  2. ‘Support and enhance the community pharmacy workforce, to ensure that pharmacists and their teams can continue to meet the needs of patients now and in the future.
  3. ‘Conduct an end-to-end review of the medicines supply chain, so that patients can access the medicines they need.
  4. ‘Rollout an enhanced Pharmacy First service for England, mirroring the highly successful approaches taken in Scotland and Wales.
  5. ‘Empower community pharmacists to do more, with an ambitious roadmap for independent prescribing.
  6. ‘Make pharmacies centres for public health, prevention and reducing health inequalities.’

‘A vibrant pharmacy network can increase patient access, free up GP capacity, and support the NHS as it reduces the care backlog,’ the letter concluded.

And it was signed by Janet Morrison, CPE  chief executive; Paul Rees, NPA chief executive; Malcolm Harrison, CCA chief executive; and Tase Oputu, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board.

The letter follows a report from the parliamentary Health and Social Care Committee that recommended that the community pharmacy contract be ‘completely overhauled’, with ‘urgent’ reform of the way pharmacies are funded.

Earlier this week, the Conservative Party pledged to expand Pharmacy First to include more conditions, as well as have pharmacies provide more contraceptive options and menopause support, if elected at the next general election.

And Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper told The Pharmacist that the party would 'review the pharmacy funding model to make it fairer and more sustainable, and fix broken supply chains to end the cycle of medicine shortages that is dangerous and anxiety-inducing for patients and exhausting and time-consuming for pharmacists.'