The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has called for both a review of the medicines supply chain and support for the further development of pharmacist prescribing services in its manifesto published ahead of the forthcoming general election.
The manifesto — ‘General election 2024: The voice of pharmacy during the general election’ — was published on 8 January 2024 and sets out challenges likely to be faced by the next UK government.
The document urges pharmacists to contact election candidates to ask them to show their support for the pharmacy profession.
Although the date of the next general election is not known, it is likely to be held later in 2024. By law, it cannot be held any later than January 2025.
The RPS manifesto also calls on the next Westminster government to ringfence the position of chief pharmacist in every integrated care system, enable pharmacy students to access the Learning Support Fund and scrap prescription charges in England to match Scotland and Wales.
The Society has requested that members share a copy of the manifesto with their local parliamentary candidates once they are selected, and to invite potential MPs and local council candidates to visit local pharmacies to demonstrate the difference that pharmacists can make to constituents’ health.
It is advised that members check with their employer before contacting candidates or inviting them to their place of work.
Claire Anderson, president of the RPS, said: “The health service is under continued pressure, striving to maintain patient access to quality care amid workforce shortages, widening health inequalities, and recurring medicines supply issues.
“Against this backdrop, the next government will face some key challenges to support patients and the NHS in 2024 and beyond.
“But there are also opportunities, including growing the number of pharmacist prescribers, delivering care closer to home, and making the most of new advances, such as pharmacogenomics.
“The future of our health service will be a key issue at the next election and I would encourage members to engage with their local candidates to help pharmacy be a part of that debate.”