Health Minister for Northern Ireland Robin Swann, who was the chief guest at a National Pharmacy Association (NPA) event this week and thanked NPA members for their ‘unwavering response’ to the coronavirus pandemic and dedication to helping people.
He was among 50-plus guests at a dinner at Hillsborough Castle near Belfast, to mark the NPA’s 100th anniversary.
The Minister praised “the tremendous dedication of community pharmacy to public service in Northern Ireland” over the past 100 years.
“Recent events have shown the value of community pharmacy to the health service,” he said.
“Pharmacies have been at the forefront of our Covid-19 response, playing a pivotal role in delivering much needed services to our communities and the people who live in them.”
“I know that Covid-19 generated new and different demands for pharmacies and you’ve worked hard to maintain access to medicines and expert pharmaceutical advice, as well as offering new services.”
“You have been unwavering in your response and dedication and I’d like to thank you on behalf of all the people of Northern Ireland.”
The Minister continued:
“EU exit and the Northern Ireland protocol have raised concerns of the supply and regulations of medicines. The goal of my department has always been to maintain the continuity of medicines supply and equity of access to treatment for all our people.”
Cathy Harrison, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, also attended the event. She said:
“I’m enormously proud of each and every community pharmacist and member of our pharmacy teams. I can see that things are looking brighter for community pharmacy in Northern Ireland with ambitious plans in place for workforce development, independent prescribing, regulation of technicians and investment in IT.
“The support of the National Pharmacy Association will be absolutely critical to our success in this,” she added.
Approximately £500 was raised for mental health charity Inspire at the event.