In many ways, it will be a welcome relief to return to the NEC Birmingham on October 17-18. Covid has wreaked havoc in the last 18 months but when stakeholders, exhibitors and visitors gather at the show to hear about the latest developments in the pharmacy sector, it will signal another step on the road to normality.
The Pharmacy Show, organised by CloserStill Media, has been a key event in the pharmacy calendar for more than 10 years but this event will be particularly special given the turmoil of the past 18 months and the cancellation of last year’s show.
The hugely successful nationwide vaccination programme has given us all hope that we are finally coming out of this awful pandemic, but the show organisers are in no mood to be complacent – they want to keep everyone who attends safe and have put in place a raft of Covid safety measures.
Attendees will have to prove their Covid status before they enter the event.
The show organisers say this will need to include one of the following:
• Proof of a negative lateral flow test within 48 hours of arrival
• Proof of a full course of vaccination two weeks before arrival
• Proof of natural immunity as shown by a positive PCR test lasting for 180 days from the date of the positive test and following completion of a period in self-isolation.
Additionally attendees will need to check in each day via the venue’s NHS Test and Trace QR code before being allowed to enter.
Once the Covid safety formalities are out the way, attendees will be free to wander from stand to stand and attend talks and workshops. This year, the show will provide Covid and travel vaccination training which will be useful given that phase three of the Covid vaccination programme will be underway.
As always, the show will provide a mixture of education, networking opportunities and, as the organisers said leading up to the event with no shortage of enthusiasm, “fun!”
“Nowhere else can pharmacists in the UK find the inspiration and insight to tackle the biggest challenges they face whilst finding new ideas to help them survive and thrive.”
There will be eight lecture theatres, with each holding sessions on a wide range of topics relevant to pharmacy in the UK, not to mention debates with high profile pharmacy figures on the hottest topics affecting pharmacists and their teams.
One of those topics, of course, is the five-year community pharmacy contractual framework in England, which is now in its third year. Attendees will be keen to hear more at the show about what the future may hold for funding and commissioning of services. Attendees can hear about how community pharmacists can make their presence felt in the latest NHS reorganisation, complete with integrated care systems and integrated care boards. As the show organisers quite rightly say: “This is the most pivotal change to community pharmacy in more than a decade.”
But the event will provide much more than a learning experience. It will give attendees the chance to meet with suppliers, do a spot of networking, sample products and have a close look at the latest innovations.
The Pharmacy Show 2021 is set to attract more than 9,200 pharmacy professionals over the two days. “It is the perfect opportunity to get in front of thousands of pharmacy owners, wholesalers, buyers, distributors and decision-makers, in a dedicated trade environment,” the organisers say.
Figures from previous shows indicate that 70 per cent of delegates have purchasing responsibility within their organisations, while 85 per cent of visitors met suppliers or discovered products they did not previously know about. The show will provide more than 150 education streams on the latest products and services, more than enough to cover attendees’ CPD needs over the two days.
“The Pharmacy Show has always been a must-attend event for pharmacy teams and this year is certainly no exception. It will be great to see people I know in the sector who I have not seen face-to-face in a long time,” said Independent Community Pharmacist editor Neil Trainis.
“The Pharmacy Show is going to be one of the first major get-togethers of the industry post-lockdown and we would love to see you taking part in live sessions, networking and finally seeing friends.”