Viagra Connect is now available to buy at high street pharmacies.
If the government does not change course and listen to frontline pharmacists desperately trying to make them see sense, I foresee a desperately bleak future for community pharmacy and indeed the whole of the NHS - a hole in the high street and in the chain of healthcare that will never be filled.
Our solution to this problem was to increase the number of languages and the number of pharmacies enrolled so that each pharmacy can give us fewer surveys and we can still hit data collection targets.
Community pharmacy is a part of the health service that bucks the inverse care law - there are more pharmacies per head of population in deprived areas than in more affluent areas. I speak for community pharmacists all over the nation when I implore you to bear this in mind as you pursue your aspiration of making Britain a country that works for everyone.
There would always be that one patient who seemed really nice (positive attitude to healthcare professionals) and asking about their medicines (engaging with therapy) but who I didn't share a common language with. I had to use crappy broken English, mime, rely on that patient's children or, in a worst case scenario, send them away without giving them any medication counselling.
If the government wants to improve patient access it should invest in this; in allowing community pharmacies to help, instead of closing 'potentially' a quarter of them. Instead of being forced to go to your GP you can walk in to the pharmacist with no appointment and be seen, in most cases, immediately.
I wrote in my article earlier this week that pharmacists save lives, and was asked on this very page to back up my claim
This government seems to have ignored the real victims to their proposals: the elderly, the vulnerable, the immobile and those without access to transport. The housebound; those who pharmacy has helped to remain living independently in their own homes for longer. The frail, and those who have little resource or influence to fight back.
Winter puts enormous pressure on the NHS as common mild infections spread rapidly and demand for healthcare soars.
It is a misunderstanding that can be helped by chemists raising awareness of what they do and talking about what excites and motivates them. Many of them are already doing so and are fine ambassadors for their respective fields.