As secretary of state, I am right behind you – Hancock tells community pharmacy
Health secretary Matt Hancock has said community pharmacy is the 'front door to the NHS' and that as the secretary of state he is right behind the sector.
In a video message as chief guest at the virtually held 20th Pharmacy Business Awards on Thursday (Jan 21), Hancock said he was very grateful to the role community pharmacies play "in every corner" of the country.
"Especially in these challenging weeks ahead, I want to say thank you," he said, adding: "as the secretary of state, I'm right behind you."
Hancock praised community pharmacy teams for going above and beyond, to make sure that vital medicines got to those who needed them, and for working “incredibly hard to keep people safe.”
But he acknowledged: “We keep asking a lot of you: first, through the biggest flu vaccination program in history, and now with the critical role that you will play in the Covid-19 vaccines deployment plan.
The health secretary reiterated that it's always been clear to him that community pharmacy was always such a critical part of the NHS family. "And now with this pandemic, I think it has now become clear to everyone,” he continued, stressing "you're the front door to the NHS, you're the part most embedded in our communities."
Earlier, Shailesh Solanki, the executive editor of Pharmacy Business said community pharmacy was in urgent need of a funding model that would sustain and fully value the network.
He regretted "words of praise will not pay" the sector’s ever-rising bills. “The Government must act now and match its praise for the sector with funding to end this uncertainty. Only then can community pharmacy fulfil its true potential at the heart of our communities and as an integral part of our great NHS.”
Solanki said the Covid-19 pandemic visibly demonstrated the value of community pharmacy teams as the only accessible healthcare professionals and proved that "they really are the bedrock of our communities".
"In this time of national crisis, community pharmacy stood tall with dignity and well-deserved pride," he added.
The main Pharmacy Business Awards saw a total of thirteen categories of honours given away to celebrate excellence in community pharmacy.
Sharmans Pharmacy in Northwood beat off stiff competition from two other formidable finalists to win Pharmacy Business of the Year presented by a strong supporter of community pharmacy, Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London who, while presenting the award, took the opportunity to express his gratitude to the profession.
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