The Government have announced that community pharmacies will face a 12% cut on current funding levels for the rest of this financial year, and a 7.4% cut on current levels the year after.
The pharmacy sector expect the effect of these cuts to be devastating and the government Minister previously responsible for pharmacy funding estimated earlier this year that up to 3,000, a quarter of all pharmacies, could close because of these cuts.
Research produced by the House of Commons Libraries for Justin Madders MP and his colleagues in the Labour Health Team has shown how many pharmacies are at risk in each region.
In Ellesmere Port & Neston, 5 pharmacies could be forced to close and in the North West overall, the number could reach over 460.
Cross-party concern was shown in the House of Commons on the effect of the cuts, as Labour forced a vote on Wednesday 2nd November and Justin voted against the damaging cuts. Unfortunately, the Government used its majority to vote down Labour’s motion.
The Government has announced a Pharmacy Access Scheme (PhAS) to ease the burden of the cuts on areas where there are fewer pharmacies and higher health needs, but the scheme will benefit some regions significantly more than others.
In Ellesmere Port & Neston just 10% of pharmacies are eligible for the pharmacy access scheme.
Commenting, Justin Madders MP said:
“Pharmacies are vital local assets and these cuts are totally short-sighted.
“Pharmacies provide very important face to face health services, particularly for the elderly, disabled and those with long term illnesses, and any pharmacy closures or service cutbacks will only cause extra pressure to be piled on already overstretched GP and A&E services.
“It is absolutely amazing that the Government is pushing ahead with these cuts despite admitting they have no idea how many pharmacies could close as a result.
“I was proud to vote against these damaging cuts on Wednesday and Labour will continue the fight to save our community pharmacies.”