The national pharmacy bodies have agreed a joined up approach to political communications throughout the General Election campaign, launching www.pharmacymanifesto.com.
Resources available include a range of communications resources to help pharmacists engage in the political process, such as downloadable General Election leaflets, guidance on arranging candidate visits and key messages to get across to the election candidates and parties.
PSNC chief executive, Sue Sharpe, said election was an added opportunity to raise the profile of the value of community pharmacy. “Last year all those taking part in the campaign for community pharmacy helped to build a huge amount of public and Parliamentary support for the sector. With a General Election approaching we now have a chance to build on that success, ensuring that as many Parliamentary Candidates as possible know about community pharmacy teams and the value that they do and could provide. There remain challenges ahead for community pharmacy and all those working in healthcare, but this election offers us an important opportunity to seek more constructive relationships with the new Government; the earlier we start building those relationships with potential MPs, the better.”
Community pharmacists can get involved by engaging with local MP candidates, suggested Sandra Gidley, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board. “With only a few short weeks before the General Election, and with a range of issues jostling for attention, we are calling on all our members to speak to their future MPs about how patients can benefit from the pharmacist’s expertise in medicines. We will be encouraging candidates from all the parties to read our new general election toolkit, show their support for the pharmacy profession, and visit a local pharmacist to hear first-hand about how they make a real difference to constituents’ health.”
The General Election gives pharmacists a platform to get the message across to politicians that pharmacy is a vital part of the NHS frontline, agreed NPA chair, Ian Strachan. "We are maintaining a high level of political activity – using the energy and awareness generated during the campaign against pharmacy cuts in England to pursue a positive agenda for the development of the pharmacy sector."
Margaret MacRury, chair of the Company Chemists Association said that pharmacy bodies had already worked hard to get the message about community pharmacy across. “The community pharmacy sector has a lot to offer any incoming Government in terms of value to the NHS, value to local communities and the potential to improve the lives of patients and the public through the support and expertise available within the network. We have worked hard through the ongoing campaign to get the message across, and the General Election provides another opportunity to engage positively with prospective candidates about the difference we can make and to build upon in the new Parliament”.
Colin Baldwin, CEO of AIMp, commented: “The calling of the General Election at this time provides pharmacy with an opportune window to engage with prospective candidates and showcase the value of pharmacy to the NHS, as well as demonstrate the positive impact pharmacy has on the local communities in which it serves, and where it has always been held in high regard.”
#pharmacy17 is being used by the pharmacy bodies as a social media tag for the General Election.