Dudley MP Ian Austin has joined a campaign opposing the Government’s plan to cut the budget for local chemists, after talks between the Government and the sector broke down.
Negotiations on a new package of funding for community pharmacies have ceased and the Government is set to push through a funding cut that could force thousands of chemists to close across the country.
The Government’s initial plan to cut £170 million from the community pharmacy budget – a cut of 6 per cent – was put on hold after pressure from campaigners, but a new round of damaging cuts could now be imposed.
Official government estimates show that the £170 million cut could force up to 3,000 community pharmacies – one in four across the country – to close their doors to the public.
Across Birmingham and the Black Country 653 community pharmacies serving 2.5 million people could be put at risk as a result of the funding cuts.
Ian Austin said:
“The Government should drop their damaging plan to cut community pharmacies and get back around the negotiating table with the sector.
“Cutting community pharmacies would be bad for our local community as many people, including young families and elderly people rely on them for free medical advice and prescription medicine.
“The Government’s plan is also a false economy for the NHS, because community pharmacies save the NHS money. Cutting them will only add more costs in the long run.
“The Government should think again urgently before it is too late.”
The number of community pharmacies in Birmingham and the Black Country can be found on table 2b of this spreadsheet.
Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, previous Minister of State for Health, estimated that up to 3,000 community pharmacies could face closure as a result of the cut at a meeting of the All-Party Pharmacy Group in January, minutes of which can be seen here.