Statement from Rob Darracott on NPA announcement

“Naturally, I am disappointed at the decision by one of our member associations to give their notice to withdraw from Pharmacy Voice at the end of 2017.  Over the next year, Pharmacy Voice’s small but unique team of policy, public affairs, communications, and governance professionals will continue to work, as we have always done, on behalf of the whole of the community pharmacy sector in England to promote the value of the network and support the role frontline pharmacy teams play within an integrated health and care system. We have an exciting and important programme of work  planned for 2017 which will help get community pharmacy back on the front foot, and demonstrate the sector’s continued commitment to innovation and partnership.

“The announcement of funding cuts 12 months ago presented community pharmacy with a challenge which forced us all to think and do things differently.  Beyond our ground breaking Parliamentary engagement programme, Pharmacy Voice has led in the development of the sector’s vision for the future.  Beginning with our original 2011 Blueprint, which described what a sustainable, long-term future for community pharmacy looks like, this culminated with the launch this year of the Community Pharmacy Forward View, published by Pharmacy Voice and PSNC, with support from the RPS. This represented the first genuine cross-sector vision for our sector and was described as “spot on” by the Minister David Mowat.

“One of the many things we will seek to deliver over the next 12 months is to turn the vision of the Community Pharmacy Forward View into a reality.  Work is also already well underway with NHS England and others to ensure the sector gains access to the investment it needs from the pharmacy integration fund.

“Pharmacy Voice was created in the midst of the passage of the Health & Social Care Act.  That major reorganisation of the NHS, and the changes that followed it, created a new landscape for the sector to navigate. The Community Pharmacy Forward View, and our plans to implement it, recognise this new reality. Up and down the country, local LPC leaders, leading practitioners and innovator companies know that change is needed, and have been working with us to achieve it.

“In addition to delivering on the promise of the Community Pharmacy Forward View we will also continue the discussion we have been holding with our member organisations on the future representation of the sector. We have always believed in the need to maximise the combined resources of the network through more effective joint working, both between the sector’s national bodies and with other partner organisations.  I’m disappointed that this announcement has pre-empted the conclusion of some of those discussions, but my team and I remain committed to participating in dialogue on the future of a sector we care so deeply about.

“Regardless of how it is delivered in the future, the need for the thought leadership and sector-led development that Pharmacy Voice was established to provide, has never been more essential than it is today.”