There have been around 250,000 expressions of support for the ‘Support your local pharmacy campaign’ since it was launched on 2 February 2016, according to Stephen Fishwick, head of communications at the National Pharmacy Association.
The NPA was one of a number of national pharmacy organisations behind a campaign event at a south London shopping mall where a campaign petition urging prime minister David Cameron to abandon the proposed 6% reduction to pharmacy funding in England attracted around 1,000 signatories.
Sue Sharpe, chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), and NPA chair Ian Strachan were at the Elephant and Castle shopping centre promoting the campaign on 26 February 2016.
Pharmacists then took their protest banner to the Department of Health offices in nearby Skipton House.
The events were the latest in the campaign set up by the PSNC and Pharmacy Voice, which represents the NPA, the Company Chemists’ Association and the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies.
“The public was incredulous about the proposed cuts,” Fishwick said after the event. “The most common response was that it was just crazy that the government said it didn’t plan to cut front line NHS services but what was more front line than community pharmacy?”
A campaign website and Facebook page were launched on 2 February 2016 as the first step by pharmacy organisations to join together and fight the proposed cuts, which are predicted to lead to the closure of between 1,000 and 3,000 pharmacies.
By 17 February, the NPA said it had received more than 100,000 requests for campaign postcards, which individuals can post to their MP urging them to support the campaign.