Community pharmacist elected as MP in Somerset

Sadik Al-Hassan, a superintendent pharmacist, was elected as Labour MP for North Somerset, while hospital pharmacist Taiwo Owatemi held her seat as Labour MP for Coventry North West in the general election.

Community pharmacist Sadik Al-Hassan has been elected as Labour MP for North Somerset, in an election which saw Labour win a large majority to form the next UK government.

Al-Hassan, who was selected as the Labour candidate in May 2024, won the seat with 19,138 votes — 35.6% of the vote share. The seat was previously held by Conservative MP Liam Fox.

In a post on X following the count, Al-Hassan — superintendent pharmacist and head of stock at PillTime, an online NHS pharmacy — said he was “truly honoured to be elected as the first Labour Member of Parliament for North Somerset”.

In the election, hospital pharmacist Taiwo Owatemi held her seat as Labour MP for Coventry North West, with 19,696 votes — a 46.9% share of the total.

Also writing on X, Owatemi said: “Words cannot express my gratitude to the people of Coventry North West. Your trust in me, in our shared vision, for a brighter future, is truly humbling. It is the honour of my life to represent you and I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure your voices are represented.”

Claire Anderson, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said in a statement on 5 July 2024 that it was “fantastic we now have two pharmacists elected to Parliament”, and offered her congratulations to both Owatemi and Al-Hassan.

“The future of our health service has been at the forefront of the election campaign and, amid workforce shortages and medicines supply issues, the new government must turn its attention to enhancing patient care in a health service under continued pressure,” she said.

She added that pharmacists will “be central to reducing health inequalities, managing the growing cost of long-term conditions, and delivering best value from medicines for patients and the NHS”.

However, she said that “as pharmacists are asked to do more, this must be backed by sustainable funding, and I look forward to working with the government on how to make the best use of pharmacists’ skills to benefit patients, including through the growing number of pharmacist prescribers”.

In its manifesto, published on on 13 June 2024, the Labour Party committed to creating “a Community Pharmacist Prescribing Service, granting more pharmacists independent prescribing rights”.

Commenting on the election results, Janet Morrison, chief executive of Community Pharmacy England, said the negotiator was “pleased to see the Labour Party making commitments to expand the role of community pharmacy teams, but we will be underlining to ministers that we can only make this happen if pharmacies are sustainable”.

She added that concluding negotiations around the 2024/2025 Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework would be “one of the first tasks for the new government health team”.

“This is critical to assure the future for community pharmacies and the safe supply of medicines to patients, but it will be one item of many on their list of NHS crises to solve,” she said.

Paul Rees, chief executive of the National Pharmacy Association, also congratulated the Labour Party on its win, adding: “We are excited to work with the new government to show how a properly funded pharmacy network can cut GP and hospital waiting times and dramatically improve the nation’s health.”

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, July 2024, Vol 313, No 7987;313(7987)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2024.1.322870

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