Pharmacies across the UK have been undertaking vital work throughout the pandemic and reinforcing their enormous value to their local communities. However, with little recognition from government, the pharmacy community feels undervalued.
In the lead up to the AIM membership renewals in January 2021, the organisation wanted to demonstrate its commitment to highlighting to senior politicians the invaluable contribution of its members.
The community nature of many pharmacies provides an excellent opportunity to engage senior politicians on a constituency basis. We decided to arrange a series of visits for MPs to AIMP member pharmacies in their constituency, at which key issues for the sector could be raised. After each visit, we worked with local press to highlight the role the pharmacy plays in supporting patients. But we also wanted to provide AIMP members with the tools to organise their own visits. Therefore we created a toolkit for pharmacies to use, beyond our initial programme, to contact their MP and arrange a visit.
The team secured visits by Michael Gove MP, then Minister for the Cabinet Office, and Jesse Norman MP, a Treasury minister, to their local AIMP pharmacies, which were subsequently reported in the local paper.
The visits provided an opportunity for the pharmacies to explain to their constituency MPs the vital support they had been offering to their local communities, and for AIMP to raise key policy issues with the ministers.