From our chair, Nigel Clarke, and our chief executive, Duncan Rudkin
This past year will always be remembered as the year in which the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began.
The pandemic has had a massive impact on all our lives, on the work we do and the way we do it.
Pharmacies have been at the frontline in supporting the healthcare needs of patients and the public during the pandemic, staying open to serve their communities in very difficult circumstances.
We have huge admiration for the way people working across pharmacy have risen to the significant challenges they have faced, including the unprecedented demand for medicines and advice during this time. We pay tribute to every member of their pharmacy teams for what they have done to support patients and the public, and especially pay tribute to those who have sadly lost their lives during the pandemic. We will remember their significant contribution, and we are confident that patients and the public will do the same.
Everyone in health and social care has had to work differently to meet the challenges of this pandemic, including us. This annual report explains the changes we began to make in March to allow us to follow government guidelines and protect our staff and others, while continuing to deliver our key regulatory functions as effectively as possible. These changes are continuing into 2020/21 and we are grateful to our staff, our Council and everyone we work with for their commitment, resilience and collaboration in the face of these extraordinary circumstances.
At a time when the pandemic is continuing to dominate our lives and our work, it is very easy to forget what happened before – and particularly our achievements over the last year. But it is important to look back and celebrate our achievements, as well as to look forward and think about our vision for the future.
This was also the year we began publishing inspection reports and launched our knowledge hub to share good practice across the pharmacy sector. Pharmacy professionals had to meet all of the requirements for revalidation for the first time. We strengthened our guidance for pharmacies providing online services, and took robust action against the pharmacies that were not following this guidance and were putting patients at risk.
During 2019/20, we developed our Vision 2030. This is an ambitious ten-year vision which will focus our efforts on the difference we want to make. Our strategic plan for 2020–25 summarises the work we plan to do in the next five years towards achieving this vision, and driving improvements in the delivery of pharmacy services and in the quality of pharmacy practice for patients and the public.
We cannot do that alone and we are committed to working closely with others to achieve our vision of safe and effective pharmacy care at the heart of healthier communities.