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NPA, CPE and CCA criticise “naïve” AIM call to only focus on APPG


NPA, CPE and CCA criticise “naïve” AIM call to only focus on APPG

By Neil Trainis

Two major pharmacy trade bodies and the sector’s negotiator have criticised the chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies Leyla Hannbeck over her claim that organisations in the industry are using their own manifestos to try and influence the government and policymakers and described her suggestion that they unite behind the All-Party Pharmacy Group and ignore other routes as “naïve.”

In a joint statement denying AIM’s claim that pharmacy bodies are working in “silos,” the National Pharmacy Association, Community Pharmacy England and Company Chemists’ Association said it made “sense to use a variety of channels and tactics to influence public policy” and insisted “limiting” their work “to just one parliamentary channel” would “do a disservice to pharmacy owners.”

Hannbeck (pictured) had said the most effective way for community pharmacy to tackle its “key challenges” was to use a “joined-up” approach from within parliament “using politicians from all parties to push” its case. She said it was easier for individuals in power to “divide and rule” and “pick us off against each other” because pharmacy organisations were working to their own manifestos.

She also said the Save Our Pharmacies campaign "failed to make a significant impact" and should be relaunched by pharmacy bodies through the APPG.

The NPA, CPE and CCA refuted her claims and insisted they continue to work closely together to influence government and NHS England policy through “all possible routes to ensure the best possible outcomes for the sector.”

“This included our joint work to influence the primary care recovery plan which will bring vital investment into community pharmacy and supporting the work of the pharmacy APPG since its formation in parliament,” they said.

The three bodies insisted they manage to work together “despite being separate organisations and not always taking exactly the same views on things” and said they were “disappointed” by AIM’s statement.

They also criticised Hannbeck and AIM for using the media to call for unity in the sector instead of talking directly to them.

“We are of the view that effective collaboration, both within the sector and with external stakeholders, is achieved by maintaining good lines of communication and building trusted relationships,” the NPA, CPE and CCA said.

AIM: Our sector is viewed by many as disjointed

When asked for her response to the bodies’ statement, Hannbeck told Independent Community Pharmacist that “despite the best efforts of our organisations acting individually, and regardless of what their definition of ‘working together’ is, our sector is viewed by many as disjointed.”

“Clearly the current status quo is not working and has not produced any results. We have received very little from the government and the sector is in crisis. The permanent closures of community pharmacies and the efforts of those that remain just to survive give the lie to that," she said. 

She insisted AIM “did reach out to various pharmacy bodies including NPA and CPE to work together” and claimed she has letters and emails to the chairs and CEOs of the NPA, CPE and CCA as evidence.

“My concern and indeed AIM’s concern is our members and independent pharmacy contractors and the daily struggles they face,” Hannbeck said.

“I know that if we work together we are stronger and we would also be foolish not to draw on the support of our political friends from all sides via a stronger and well supported APPG.”



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