CHEMISTS in the district are urging people to join their fight against NHS cuts – which they claim could have life-threatening consequences.
Around a quarter of the 11,600 pharmacies in England are under threat as a result of Government plans to cut NHS funding by £170million. Petitions have been launched to oppose the cuts.
Mellors Pharmacy in Warwick has been a family owned since the 1800s but the six per cent cut nationally would see the Market Place business lose £22,000 of NHS funding.
Andy McKenna from Mellors told The Observer: “The cuts are a blunt tool – they don’t look likely to save pharmacies valued by communities but rather squeeze costs until it’s impossible for many to continue.
“It could potentially put patients’ safety at risk if dispensing staff have to be cut. I’d hope the petition would encourage local MPs to question the choice and even challenge the policy.
“We’re in full support of providing the new living wage to employees as a reflection of the hard work they do but the cuts on top would mean the business is taking a serious hit.”
Cubbington parish councillor and cancer patient David Saul regularly uses Lillington Pharmacy.
He told The Observer: “The big boys, like Boots, will just absorb the cuts but small, independent pharmacies will really find it hard to survive and people need to realise that.
“You get a personal service from the chemist and being able to go in to talk to someone about a problem reduces the strain on GP surgeries.
“The Government will argue there are ‘too many pharmacies’ but they keep building houses which will increase demand. If anything we could need more pharmacies.”
The Department of Health estimates the number of pharmacies it funded between 2003 and 2015 rose by 20 per cent.
And it says nearly half of community pharmacies are within walking distance of each other.
South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group – who oversee local pharmacy and GP services – have not yet provided a comment.
Petitions can be found in most pharmacies in the district.