A first Community Pharmacy Summit will take place in Portsmouth next month.

The event, on Wednesday 15 November, is being hosted by Portsmouth City Council to bring NHS leaders, pharmacy professionals, and partners from across city together to discuss the challenges and opportunities locally.

Concerns around some pharmacy closures since last year have been raised by the Portsmouth Health and Wellbeing Board. In response, Cabinet Members Cllr Matthew Winnington and Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson have called the Summit to explore the key issues.

Cllr Winnington, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing, Health and Care, said: “Community pharmacists deliver healthcare services to thousands of Portsmouth residents, and together with our NHS partners, the Council is committed to supporting them to perform this really important role.

“We are hosting the Summit to better understand the challenges, and the opportunities to work together and create a vision for community pharmacy in Portsmouth that benefits our residents and our pharmacies.”

Portsmouth pharmacy representatives took part in an initial roundtable discussion on 28 September, pictured, hosted by Cllr Winnington at Portsmouth City Council’s Civic Offices.

Topics raised included the complicated way pharmacies receive funding, and NHS England’s plans to further expand services, including prescribing, through Pharmacy First. Opportunities to better connect with GP services were also discussed, the safety of pharmacists, particularly when working in the evenings, as well as the increasing support they give to people with mental health needs.

These issues raised at the September meeting will inform the key themes for discussion at the Summit on 15 November.

Attendees at the initial meeting also heard about some recent successes, including the important role pharmacy is playing in delivering flu and COVID vaccinations, and how Portsmouth pharmacies are leading the way in offering a national pilot of an oral contraception service.

The Summit is being hosted by Portsmouth City Council, with support from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board, working together as Health and Care Portsmouth.