The assault on community pharmacy by the government must be stopped

Just before Christmas, I was appalled at the fait accompli decision announced with such callous disregard for our profession to slash the funding of community pharmacy by £170m (6%) in 2016–2017. As the funding reduction will not kick in until September 2016, this effectively means pharmacies will see a net 12% reduction in their

NHS income in the second half of the financial year. Alistair Burt, the pharmacy minister, announced the government’s intention to close 3,000 pharmacies not in any planned or structured way, but by the bluntest of instruments — a period of sustained and indiscriminate financial attrition.

Now, in a further gratuitous move, it is being suggested that establishment payments (given to pharmacies that dispense more than 2,500 prescriptions a month, worth around £24,000 per annum per pharmacy) will be withdrawn. At a time when the GP network is severely stressed and close to collapse in many parts of the country, what sane person would intentionally crush the community pharmacy network, leaving struggling surgeries and accident and emergency departments to cope with the fall out? The worst of it is that those pharmacies who have invested most in staffing, service development, IT, etc, in order to provide the highest quality pharmacy services to local people have the highest costs and will be worst hit. In these circumstances the pharmacy leadership bodies have the tendency to circle the wagons and fire inwards. This must not happen this time. We must unite and work together with patients, the public and other healthcare professions to make the government see the error of its ways.

I implore all colleagues to sign and promote the pharmacy petition against government cuts (petition.parliament.uk/petitions/116943), to use the Twitter hashtag #lovemypharmacy and visit the website supportyourlocalpharmacy.org and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Supportyourlocalpharmacy/).

Graham Phillips

Superintendent pharmacist

Manor Pharmacy Group

Hertfordshire

 

Last updated
Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, February 2016, Vol 296, No 7886;296(7886):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20200712