SDLP deputy leader speaks to local community pharmacists as election campaign trail continues

SDLP deputy leader speaks to local community pharmacists as election campaign trail continues

SDLP deputy leader Nichola Mallon has visited her local community pharmacy to highlight the importance of community pharmacies within the SDLP’s plan to support the health system in the new Assembly mandate.

The North Belfast Assembly candidate was speaking following a visit to Teagues Pharmacy on the Antrim Road in which she said that the SDLP will look to build upon the strong links that exist between community pharmacies and their surrounding communities.

Nichola Mallon supported calls from the sector for workforce planning to be prioritised in the next Assembly mandate to reduce staff shortages and ensure that pharmacy remains an attractive sector to enter and remain in. Staff at the community pharmacy also told the former minister of the need for the incoming Executive to make the most of the solutions and opportunities presented by the sector in the midst of lengthy waiting list crisis and overstretched emergency care.

North Belfast Assembly candidate, Nichola Mallon said:

“The community pharmacists here at Teagues Pharmacy are a real testament to the dedication and hard work of the entire community pharmacy workforce here in the heart of North Belfast. The last number of years have been fraught with challenges, most recently the COVID-19 pandemic, and yet our community pharmacists stood up to meet increased demands and supported our communities every step of the way.

“Reforming our health service will inevitably play a prominent role in the next Assembly mandate, so it was both timely and worthwhile to hear from people, like Conor and his team, on how we can get the best for both our community pharmacists and our communities. If we want to build a health service that works for communities here in North Belfast into the future, then we need to work with our frontline health workers in the new mandate and build a sustainably resourced and integrated community pharmacy sector.”

Conor McAreavey of Teagues Pharmacy, Antrim Road said:

“Today was a welcome opportunity to speak with the SDLP’s Assembly leader and highlight the everyday role played by community pharmacies here in North Belfast. Whether it is through the dispensing of medicines to meet increased footfall or the introduction of new pilot services, our teams have adapted to the changing needs of our patients. In recognising the hard work of our teams and their expanded role, we now need to be looking to attract, recruit and retain community pharmacists.  

“The new Assembly mandate also presents an opportunity to turn transformation plans into action and ensure that we have a sustainable health service for the foreseeable future. Community pharmacy has identified a range of different solutions and stands ready to support the transition from hospital-focused care to community-focused care.”

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