Trade for prosperity

Introducing your local pharmacies!

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) explains who they are, what they do and how local pharmacies are a key NHS asset on the health service frontline

Who we are

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) is the voice of independent community pharmacies across the UK and a key provider of services to the pharmacy sector. About half of all pharmacies are family-owned and run, small to medium-sized organisations and we are very proud to represent them!

Pharmacies are a local lifeline and vital to the health of the nation. Often the first port of call for advice and treatment, pharmacies are a key part of neighbourhood health services. Pharmacies provide a range of NHS services, ensure people can get face-to-face care without an appointment, and take pressure off GPs and hospitals.

What we do

And there is the potential for so much more. We are in constant dialogue with government and NHS about how to develop our service offering to meet the ever-changing needs of patients.

Local pharmacies are a key NHS asset on the health service frontline. For a typical independent pharmacy, more than 90% of their activity and income is for NHS services.

The NPA has a vision for the future of community pharmacy in which pharmacies are thriving and patients are enjoying the benefits in all parts of the country. We want to see pharmacies better integrated with other NHS health services, supporting health and wellbeing, utilising digital technology, providing excellent patient care and recognised as the ‘front door to health’ in every neighbourhood.

Points of view

A recent opinion poll by the NPA reveals that:

  • 74% of people want to see local pharmacies provide a wider range of NHS services, and see them as ‘neighbourhood health and wellbeing centres’.
  • 89% of people believe pharmacies are playing an essential role in the COVID19 crisis.
  • The vast majority of respondents (8 in 10) say it is important to have face-to-face contact with their pharmacist.

The same survey shows that people think their local independent pharmacies are friendly, trustworthy and caring. We certainly hope this is your own experience!

Overall, the research shows widespread public support for pharmacists to play a greater role in the future of the NHS and a strong attachment to neighbourhood services and the human touch in healthcare. 

Health service frontline

Pharmacy teams across the UK have been working hard over the last few months on the NHS frontline to keep their regular services going, while meeting vastly increased demand because of coronavirus. They continue to treat minor illnesses, help people manage long-term medical conditions, supply medicines and provide urgent care. They’ve absorbed demand that would otherwise have fallen onto other parts of the healthcare system, including GPs and A&E.

You might be surprised at the range of support available on your doorstep in local pharmacies – from flu vaccinations and help to quit smoking, to sexual health services, NHS medicines consultations and healthy living advice. Community pharmacy is about people, (people like you), not just pills!

We hope you enjoy this publication and discover lots more about what your local pharmacies provide. Please make the most of the services on offer. Support your local pharmacy so that they can stay open to support you and the generations to come.

  • There are approximately 14,000 pharmacies in the UK
  • 95% of people can get to a pharmacy within 20 minutes (by foot or by public transport)
  • 51% visit their local pharmacy once a month or more
  • 90% of pharmacies have consultation areas
  • For a typical pharmacy, more than 90% of activity and income is for NHS services.
  • Community pharmacies dispense more than 1 billion prescription items every year.
  • Community pharmacists intervene on 6.6 million prescription items a year, liaising with doctors to ensure your safety
  • 20 million more GP appointments a year for common ailments could instead be handled in pharmacies

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