Posted by: westlancashirerecord | October 21, 2016

Will Your Pharmacy Be Closing?

Is nothing sacred while the NHS is being plundered by accountants? How will you feel if your local pharmacy lifeline is closed? Are you perhaps an elderly victim of the social exclusion policies that gave you a bus pass and then stopped local bus services to enable you to travel outside your village?

Services carried out by community pharmacies delivered £3.0bn in savings in 2015, offsetting the £2.8bn of total funding from the Department of Health (DH). Yet the government is planning to implement 12% funding cuts pharmacycuts1 in England from December 2016 that could result in the closure of a quarter of pharmacies and the removal of free health services from community pharmacies.

The DH proposes to reduce funding for community pharmacy by 12% from December 2016 to March 2017, which means funding for 2016–2017 will be £2.69bn, and cut it by 7.4% (compared to current levels for the next financial year), to set funding at £2.59bn for 2017–2018.

Claire Ward, chair of Pharmacy Voice pvlogo, a trade association that represents community pharmacy in England, says that it was “a bitter blow” that after all the hard work through the counterproposals and the ‘Community pharmacy forward view’ to demonstrate the value community pharmacy could bring, the government appears to be “unwilling to match our ambition.

“Attempts to justify these cuts with superficial arguments about pharmacy clustering, inefficiency and investment in ‘pilot schemes’ have been misleading, and are quite simply not supported by the facts. I fear that the burden of these changes will now fall on those least able to bear it. I continue to urge the government to halt these damaging and costly plans, and instead take up the sector’s offer to work in collaboration and partnership”.

One local village example might be Halsall Pharmacy halsallpharmlogo. The list of services it provides is extensive. But it might succumb to the DH philosophy of the burden of pharmacy cuts falling on those least able to bear them. And other West Lancashire rural pharmacy services will all be watching and hoping the Pharmacy Voice will be heard, because these cuts will start in just a few weeks.

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