DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson visits Dromore community pharmacy as election campaign trail continues

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has visited a local community pharmacy to discuss the role of the sector as a key part of the party’s 5-Point Plan for Northern Ireland in the next Assembly mandate.

Speaking to pharmacy staff at Johnston’s Pharmacy in Dromore, the Lagan Valley MP and Assembly candidate discussed his party’s plans to build capacity in the health workforce, as set out in the DUP’s commitments to prioritise primary care for the next five years. The party calls for additional investment to modernise the health service, introduce the latest technology to community pharmacy, and support staff.

Transformation of the health service was also among the talking points as community pharmacies across Lagan Valley and throughout Northern Ireland continue to play an essential role in community-based care. Recent months have seen community pharmacies making the most of their accessibility to deliver over 330,000 COVID-19 vaccinations and over one million lateral flow testing kits while maintaining, on average, one million dispensing episodes each week in Northern Ireland.

DUP leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said:

“It was great to visit Andrew and his team who continue to play an essential role providing the community with accessible health care. As patients from Dromore and the surrounding area have increasingly come to depend on their local community pharmacist, it was important to hear how staff have adapted and stood-up services to meet greater demand. Community pharmacy is an essential part of our health service with so much opportunity to unlock as we look ahead to rebuilding.

“Our plan to fix the health service sets out our commitment to supporting community pharmacy for the next five years. We want to take steps to safeguard our health service into the future, through supporting our workforce and addressing long-term staffing pressures. Our community pharmacists, as frontline healthcare workers, have gone above and beyond what was expected of them and will continue to play an important role.”

General Manager of Johnston’s Pharmacy, Andrew Johnston said:

“Ahead of the election, today was an opportunity for us to highlight the role of community pharmacy up to this point and in the new Assembly mandate. As well as delivering our core services, like the dispensing of medicines, we also provide a range of additional services such as COVID-19 vaccination and Pharmacy First as part of our expanded role in primary care. Our message is that community pharmacy is a solutions provider, and if given the support, can play a focal role in the rebuilding of our health service in the short, medium, and long-term.

“It was encouraging to hear the DUP’s vision for the health service and the focus it places on workforce planning and healthcare transformation. As community pharmacists, we understand the needs of our patients and tirelessly step up to meet their demands. As attention turns to how we can improve our health service, community pharmacy will provide an important contribution to a new, shared healthcare model.”

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