An ‘extremely concerned’ patients’ group has spoken out against government plans to cut funding to pharmacies across the country.
The Department of Health believe there are 3,000 excess pharmacies in the UK and are proposing that funding be diverted to online medical suppliers or other care providers.
But Margaret Morgan, a member of the Dacorum Patients’ Group, said: “We would be extremely concerned if pharmacy cuts led to reduced services for patients in the locality, especially considering the dire state of Watford Hospital.It’s common sense – you don’t want less of the less.”
In response to the proposals, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has set up a Support Your Local Pharmacy petition, which already has more than 100,000 signatures.
It is aiming to get Prime Minister David Cameron and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to reconsider the plans.
Mrs Morgan added: “Over the years, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the National Pharmacy Association have always hailed pharmacies as a good source of health care advice and we would be very upsetif they were lost in a time of increasing need.”
There are approximately 14,000 community pharmacies across the country, and according to the NPA, 96 per cent of people can get to a pharmacy within 20 minutes by walking or using public transport.
The organisation expresses fears that the potential cuts could put extra pressure on already-struggling GP surgeries and hospitals.
The statement says the government is ‘conducting a dangerous experiment which will see pharmacies close, thereby reducing people’s access to medicines and healthcare advice, and putting extra pressure on GPs and hospitals’.
The NPA said: “Patients would be the biggest losers. There are particular concerns about the risks to the most vulnerable people and the most deprived communities, where local pharmacies are often –literally – a lifeline.”
Now the Tring-based Rooney Chemist has joined the NPA’s campaign and locals can pop in to the Dolphin Square pharmacy to sign the paper petition – just ask at the till.
Are other chemists in Dacorum who are backing the campaign? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info, visit www.supportyourlocalpharmacy.org