UUP leader Doug Beattie visits Portadown community pharmacy as election campaign trail continues

UUP leader Doug Beattie visits Portadown community pharmacy as election campaign trail continues

UUP leader Doug Beattie has visited a local Portadown community pharmacy to discuss the role of the sector as a key part of the party’s vision for the health service in the next Assembly mandate.

Speaking to pharmacy staff at Gordons Chemists in Portadown, Doug Beattie discussed his party’s plans to stabilise the workforce, as set out in the UUP’s ‘Build a Better Northern Ireland’ election manifesto. The party’s calls to deliver a workforce plan to reduce staffing shortages resonated with General Manger, John Clark who spoke of the need to address the continuing staffing shortfall in community pharmacy.

Transformation of the health service was also among the talking points as community pharmacies across the Upper Bann constituency 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.

UUP leader Doug Beattie said:

“It was great to visit the pharmacy team today who continue to play an essential role providing the community with accessible health care. As patients from Portadown 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 election manifesto sets out our commitment to supporting the health service 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 Manger of Gordons Chemists, John Clark 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 UUP’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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