by stewartgolton on 27 October, 2016
Rothwell Lib Dem councillor, Stewart Golton has warned that communities will suffer after the government reaffirmed its commitment to cutting pharmacy budgets.
And he said that the most vulnerable in society, particularly the elderly will suffer.
The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has warned that the government will be imposing a cut of 12 per cent to the national pharmacies budget from December 1st this year. From April 2017 there will be an additional cut of seven per cent. This will deprive pharmacies of £113 million this year and a further £200 million from 2017/18 onwards.
The government has not said exactly what form the cuts will take but is expected to make an announcement later this month. However, since independent pharmacies get 90 per cent of their income from handling prescriptions, many could face going out of business.
Earlier this year, the former health minister Alistair Burt said that up to 3,000 pharmacies could close as a result of the funding cut – a quarter of the total. This equates to up to 46 pharmacy closures in Leeds. It had been hoped that David Mowat, the new pharmacies minister appointed by Theresa May would reconsider his predecessor’s policy.
A report by Price Waterhouse Coopers earlier this year assessed the net value to the NHS of community pharmacies at £1.35 billion a year.
“This is just another government cut that will prove to be a false economy. Pharmacies saved the NHS £1.35 billion last year by keeping people healthy and out of hospitals and doctors’ surgeries. Cuts of almost 20 per cent will force a lot of smaller pharmacies out of business on our high streets as they can’t compete with national chains.
“That will only place more pressure on already overstretched GP services and hospitals.
“Family run pharmacies make a huge contribution to our local communities. They play a big part in preventing people getting sick in the first place and smaller pharmacies tend to have a stake in their local community which would be lost if all we can rely on are the bigger chains of chemists.”