Who are you likely to call upon for advice when you have a health problem?

Of course, your GP is the favoured contact, but you may also consult your local pharmacist, for whom no appointment is needed. Those with chronic health problems depend upon the pharmacist for repeat prescriptions, some getting these delivered.

An All Party Parliamentary Group on pharmacies was formed late December 1999 and has since held many meetings. In December 2021 results were published of the Flash inquiry on how pharmacists were affected by the pandemic.

The APPG report paid tribute to their hard work but revealed that local pharmacies were now at risk and needed support.

Ham & High: Janet Shapiro supports local pharmaciesJanet Shapiro supports local pharmacies (Image: HPAG)

The National Pensioners Convention alerted us to the work of this APPG. We were asked to write to our MPs urging them to attend a meeting on November 1.

I quote from the NPC recommended letter: "Local pharmacies are the front door to the NHS. They are one of the only places you can see a healthcare professional in a few short minutes. Pharmacies kept their doors open throughout the pandemic offering vital face-to-face support and medicines. They have clearly demonstrated their potential to play an even greater role in our healthcare.

"The profession is clear, they have the skills to help tackle backlogs and improve access to primary care. However, to do that they need support because they are facing significant funding pressures. Since 2016, 639 pharmacies have been lost across England alone.

"At this event (November 1st) there will be a number of ways parliamentarians can support and there will be an opportunity to hear from frontline professionals."

Hornsey Pensioners met on October 19 to hear Hilary Farnworth, Ransackers chair.

Her topic was 'We think it’s never too late to learn'. Hilary’s organisation champions later life education. All of us being over 55, we compared notes on our experiences of opportunities to access higher or adult educatioPasten.

There is no doubt that being able to study helps our well-being – as do activities like open air exercise, gardening etc. A report of this meeting will be posted at hornseypag.org.uk

Janet Shapiro on behalf of the Hornsey Pensioners Action Group