The Tory government have announced that they are pushing ahead with huge cuts to community pharmacy budgets, meaning that 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 expects 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 pharmacies could close, which represents a quarter of all pharmacies across the country.
Research produced by the House of Commons Library shows that up to 20 pharmacies across Lambeth are under threat as a result of these funding cuts and we are very concerned about the damaging impact there could be on our local communities as a result.
The government have announced a ‘Pharmacy Access Scheme’ with the aim to “protect access in areas where there are fewer pharmacies with higher health needs”. Yet the reality is that the scheme is based entirely on distance from other pharmacies and takes no notice of local health needs at all, meaning that areas like Lambeth have been overlooked and will receive none of this funding.
Our pharmacies in Lambeth are vital local assets which provide very important face to face health services, particularly for the elderly, disabled, our BAME communities and those with long term illnesses. Any pharmacy closures or service cutbacks will only cause extra pressure to be piled on already overstretched GP and A&E services.
It is unbelievable that the government is pushing ahead with these cuts despite admitting they have no idea of the final total of pharmacies that could close as a result.
In Lambeth we are clear that these funding cuts pose a severe threat to our local community health services. Please support our campaign opposing these cuts to the community pharmacies that residents across Lambeth rely on by signing our petition calling on the government to reconsider
Cllr Jim Dickson
Cabinet Member for Healthier and Stronger Communities