Sigma Conference 2024: Sector says Pharmacy First won’t solve funding crisis

The 14th Community Pharmacy Conference by Sigma Pharmaceuticals has been timely, prime minister Rishi Sunak said, noting that it coincided with the launch
of Pharmacy First, a new initiative that enables patients to receive treatments for seven common conditions directly from a pharmacist without the need for a GP
appointment or prescription.

“We are all grateful for the tremendous contributions that pharmacists make to our NHS. The fantastic work you do is critical to the success of Pharmacy First and
many other initiatives,” Sunak said in a written message.

The conference was organised from 25-29 February at Sun City in Johannesburg, South Africa, under the theme ‘community pharmacy in an integrated NHS’.

In a recorded video address to the Sigma Conference, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said community pharmacies are ‘critical’ to the Labour party’s mission to
make the NHS ‘fit for the future’.

“You should be playing a much more significant role. Labour’s reform agenda will get pharmacists working to the top of their licence. We want community pharmacists
to play a greater role in healthcare, with more focus on their expertise in prescribing and medicines management,” he said.