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New inquiry launched to assess impact of pandemic on pharmacy services

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pharmacy have launched an inquiry into the financial and operational impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on pharmacy services in the UK.

MPs launched the inquiry to identify the extra needs of the pharmacy sector, with an aim of potentially securing extra support from the government and NHS.

The ‘flash inquiry’ is aiming to examine how pharmacy services have responded to the pandemic, as well as focusing on the pressures that frontline pharmacy teams and pharmacy owners have faced over the course of the health crisis.

In addition, the inquiry will also determine whether existing funding structures have adequately supported the sector throughout the pandemic.

“Pharmacy teams have responded heroically in the face of unprecedented pressure during the pandemic. Maintaining the supply of vital medicines, stepping up to help absorb the additional demands posed by COVID-19 and going above and beyond to ensure services continue,” said Jackie Doyle-Price, chair of the All-Party Pharmacy Group.

“However, we are hearing so many examples of how the financial and operational challenges faced by community pharmacies are being amplified by the pandemic. In many cases posing an existential threat to them. Our inquiry seeks to rapidly examine these challenges and provide a set of recommendations which can be offered to the Government,” she added.

A survey of workforce as well as a call for evidence has been launched by the group from today (Tuesday 17 November) and will run until Monday 30 November.

After the inquiry is concluded, the group will publish a report and a set of recommendations detailing the additional support and reforms required to help the sector to remain sustainable in the future.