There is an extraordinary “buzz” around events that draw in the community and I have seen that at its best over the last week. The Barns Green Half Marathon, which seems to involve half the village in its organisation, goes from strength to strength, adding extra races and raising funds for St Catherine’s. At St Mark's on Saturday the regular community cafe attracted a large crowd including from among those collecting food as part of the community service active around the town. The same day a Macmillan coffee morning was in full tilt in Slinfold. Someone more than familiar with raising funds for Macmillan (she has raised an estimated £1.5m for them over 30 years) is Pam Goldsmith: it was a joy to join many in Billingshurst Community Centre when she was presented with her BEM on Friday.
Community embraces not just “events” but shops and services at the heart of our towns and villages, among those are our local pharmacies. We depend on them to dispense medicine, for advice on health concerns, to provide health monitoring services and (especially now at the start of the winter booster programme) deliver vaccinations to the public.
It was really helpful to host a Roundtable for local pharmacies in Horsham: I was keen to gain from our local pharmacists an accurate picture of the challenges local pharmacies are currently facing and to understand how they see the role of pharmacy evolving.
I was joined by a good number of our local pharmacists; some of whom are based in retail settings and others who are based in clinical settings. I was grateful to have an open and productive discussion.
It is clear that the pharmacists I spoke to are keen to provide more services to their patients and provide them with even better support in the future. The conversation was incredibly informative and there are points that I will be taking up with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care particularly around interoperability between pharmacies and the wider health network.