Rowlands Pharmacy has added its voice to growing pressure on the government to write off the £370 million in loans it provided to help community pharmacies through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Responding to the All-Party Pharmacy Group's inquiry into the impact of the crisis on pharmacy, the chain's managing director Mark Bather said that while the advanced funds had been “welcome,” pharmacies were in need of fresh investment.
“Community pharmacy has more than demonstrated its critical role as the third pillar in our healthcare infrastructure allowing easy access to essential healthcare advice, support and services,” he said.
“While praise from the prime minister and many other politicians is deserved and welcome, we now want to see an end to funding austerity and instead see investment in the network to improve healthcare outcomes for patients and relieve the strain on other parts of the NHS which will last for years to come as GPs and hospitals deal with the huge backlog of consultations and procedures.
“Now is the time to invest in unlocking the potential of community pharmacy as part of a wider NHS reset which delivers holistic integrated patient-centric care.”
The inquiry will examine how pharmacy has coped and responded during the pandemic, the pressures pharmacy teams and pharmacy owners have faced and whether existing funding structures have been enough to support the sector.
The APPG will publish a report and a set of recommendations following its inquiry.