30 January 2016

New NHS Alliance Responds to Predicted Pharmacy Closures

In response to the announcement that Alaistair Burt believes up to 3,000 high street pharmacies could close because of 6% budget cuts Dr Mark Spencer, co-chair designate of New NHS Alliance, and a GP in Fleetwood, said:

“This policy appears to be extremely short-sighted. The proposed £170m cut will save roughly 0.14% of the annual NHS budget, but the services and expertise we risk losing have the potential to save far greater NHS resource in the long run.

“While the exact number of pharmacies that will be forced to close as a result of the funding cut remains to be seen, it is quite astonishing to hear that the government seems to accept it could be as many as one in four. Jeremy Hunt has stressed on multiple occasions that the sustainability of the NHS lies in developing out of hospital care, and a focus on prevention. Cutting funding to vital primary care providers completely contradicts this approach.

“Studies have shown that community pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professional to the majority of the population, and accessibility is greatest in areas of high deprivation. Closing high street pharmacies is likely to widen health inequalities in the most deprived areas of the country, but it will also have the knock on effect of increasing demand on general practice, at a time when GPs are already struggling with capacity and recruitment.”