This is despite over one million people signing a petition opposing the original government plan to cut funding for local pharmacies.
I witnessed the one millionth signature being made by Lil Benson at her local pharmacy here in Liverpool Wavertree in May this year. It helped force the government to think again.
The government’s initial plan to cut £170 million from the community pharmacy budget – a cut of 6 per cent – was put on hold after pressure from campaigners, but there is news today which indicates a new round of damaging cuts could now be imposed by the government.
The government’s own figures have shown that the £170 million cut could force up to 3,000 community pharmacies – one in four across the country – to close their doors to the public.
I know from meeting local pharmacists and talking to constituents who rely on them for prescriptions, advice and support that they provide a vital community service that also takes pressure off other NHS services.
Our national local pharmacy network supports our local communities. Pharmacists listen, advise and offer a professional health services on the High Street without an appointment, to everyone.
Threatening pharmacy services is short-sighted and will cause long-term damage to our NHS.
The government should drop its new plan to cut community pharmacies and get back around the negotiating table with the National Pharmacy Association and the wider sector to devise a plan that will protect this important High Street health resource.
The government needs to act before it is too late.