I don’t know if it is because I am getting older, but it seemed to me to have been an extremely long winter, and a pretty gloomy one for community pharmacy. But the sun has finally come out, and there are clear signs of spring in my garden.

The green shoots of recovery were late this year – but I would like to look forward with some optimism.

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Pharmacy should be proud of the sector's performance during the severe weather conditions this winter, says pharmacist Mike Smith

The severe weather in late February caused tremendous problems right across the UK, with many services grinding to a halt. I have to say that pharmacy performed really well to ensure that our patients received their vital medical supplies, again demonstrating the magnificent value we provide to our local communities.

There are numerous stories of staff walking to work and then delivering medicines to housebound patients on foot. If ever we needed a better example of the vital social and healthcare support that community pharmacies provide – this was it. I hope that these efforts receive recognition they deserve and we continue to PR ourselves.

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You have to act now to change the future of pharmacy, says Manor Pharmacy’s Graham Phillips

We’re all familiar with the concept of make every contact count (MECC) in pharmacy, but here’s a new one: Make Every Political Contact Count. Community pharmacy needs to get out there, and that means all of us getting involved – talking about the clinical, public health and social capital value of pharmacy and the threats to the network.

We need much stronger representation at the grass roots level, and I can tell you that YOU (all of you) are perfectly qualified to play your part. Start today! The good news is that you don’t need to be working at a national level or in high-powered meetings with CCGs, because you already have hundreds of opportunities a day to get the word out from the pharmacy you work in.

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Have you checked your bank statement lately? Making small changes can add up to big savings on everyday bills, suggests pharmacy ower Noel Wicks

One of the main concerns for community pharmacies in the current climate is how to combat the increasing costs of running a pharmacy business against a backdrop of static, if not reduced, funding.

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Workload pressure isn't going to change, but how we work with it can, suggests Noel Wicks.

The recent media spotlight on workplace pressures in the pharmacy must have resonated with many in our sector. It seems almost inevitable that these pressures continue to rise, with increasing numbers of scripts to dispense and services to provide set against a backdrop of reduced funding. It looks like the pressure on businesses, individuals, systems and teams to perform will only increase.

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