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Stand up and be counted!


Stand up and be counted!

As National Pharmacy Association chair, I’m proud we decided not to support the contraception service because of the funding crisis we find ourselves in. It was a very hard but correct decision to make, says Nick Kaye


I have the absolute privilege to be able to write an article which is about what it means to be elected as chair of the National Pharmacy Association. Although that may seem indulgent, it really has given me the opportunity to reflect on what is a mind-bending point in my career and life and how I have found the first two weeks.

The first thing I have felt is a massive weight of responsibility. The NPA is over 100 years old and has weathered many storms and I’m under no illusion the organisation is bigger than any member or chair. But the stewardship of helping guide the NPA over the next two years is something I take very seriously and I also know I won’t be able to please all of the people all of the time.

However, if I stay true to the NPA’s core values of always sticking up for its members, I know I won’t go far wrong and I have a great board to support me.

I think the reason I feel so responsible for the NPA comes from a deep sense of connection to the organisation for three generations. My family have been pharmacists, my grandfather’s NPA number was 458 – 458 of all those thousands of members throughout the years. My dad always used the NPA for advice and support and encouraged me to do the same.

The NPA supported our business when we were ram-raided, when the building next door to the pharmacy caught fire. My uncle was a previous body member of the NPA in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was on the board when he tragically lost his eldest son in a car crash.

Having met ex-board members who were on the NPA with him at that time, I can tell you he took some comfort in the camaraderie around the board. This makes me think of the NPA and all it stands for. It’s been interlinked with some of the most difficult things my family has had to go through down the years.

I hope your family never has to go through these things but if you do, I believe the NPA would be there for you as it was for us. This sense of family and responsibility hits home for me in the fact my eldest son is now the fourth generation of our family to join the profession having enrolled at Swansea University, so I better not mess this up!

Community pharmacy has secured some investment and the next two years will be critical for us to step up and move into that future whilst also reminding our pay masters that core funding still needs to be addressed.

I and your newly elected NPA board feel that and understand it acutely. We are all determined to ensure community pharmacy gets the future it deserves. What is my character like? I think most people would describe me as easy-going and that is true, but I’m not a pushover.

I’m also not afraid to stand up and be counted if needed. I’m very proud of the NPA as the only trade body that stood up for us and added our voice to that of PSNC in not supporting the contraception service.

I can’t tell you what a hard decision that was, with everyone on the board understanding that community pharmacy was the right place for contraception services but understanding we couldn’t support it due to the funding crisis we have found ourselves in.

It was a very hard but correct decision to make. Having made that choice, I then found myself in a briefing about the announcement that £645 million over two years would be invested in the sector in England. Let’s see how that pans out but the first new money in pharmacy for five years must be welcomed.

I’m also aware the NPA represents those in the devolved nations and we have great NPA board members and executive teams covering Scotland, Wales and Northern Island. It’s very important to me that we listen to all voices from across those countries and learn from each other and the NPA is uniquely placed to do this.

I hope that at the end of my two years as chair, community pharmacy across all the nations will be seen as a true partner in primary care. I hope I can spend more time with patients rather than worry about my profits and losses and be even more confident that my son has made the right choice in choosing to be a pharmacist.

I am very much up for the challenge of the next two years and if the first two weeks are anything to go by, it’s going to be quite a ride. 


Nick Kaye is the chair of the National Pharmacy Association and a community pharmacist based in Newquay. These are his personal views.

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