PHARMACISTS fear they could have to cut services or even close their doors if the Government slash their funding.
Community pharmacies have been told they could face a 12 per cent cut until April, and seven per cent from then on.
It equals some £113 million in cuts across the country.
Former pharmacies minister Alistair Burt has estimated some 3,000 – or a quarter of all – local pharmacies could shut.
Birk and Nagra, which has pharmacies in Warwick and Leamington, say the cuts would ‘be a disaster’ to their business.
Pharmacist Jasbir Birk told the Observer: “This news is extremely disappointing and I’m really worried about the impact it is going to have on my patients and the local community in Whitnash and Warwick Gates.
“We work very hard to ensure that all our patients have the medicines they need, when they need them and that they understand how to use them and are leading the healthiest lives that they can. With these funding cuts we are going to struggle to manage and to continue to provide all of the services that we want to.”
Ben Wesson – Labour candidate for the by-election in Myton and Heathcote – said the cuts would greatly affect residents and place added pressures on other healthcare services such as GP and emergency services.
He said: “Hundreds of people see local pharmacies such as Birk and Nagra as their first source of accessible information and advice on healthcare matters.
“The proposed cuts to community pharmacy funding could result in 334 pharmacy closures across the West Midlands and see local services being significantly reduced.
“The cuts will inevitably pile additional pressure on GP and A&E services, which are already stretched to their limits.”
And vice-chair of Warwickshire Local Pharmaceutical Committee Theresa Fryer backed up his concerns.
She said: “Although we are unlikely to see pharmacies closing immediately, the cuts are likely to lead to pharmacies in the Leamington and Warwick area having to reduce staffing, cut opening hours and reduce some of the services offered, such as home delivery of medicines and the supply of medicines in compliance aids. All of which affect patients and will also of course add to the pressure already being placed on local GP practices and hospitals.”
Mr Wesson is calling on residents to contact the government and urge them to rethink cuts to pharmacy budgets.
Visit lobby.supportyourlocalpharmacy.com to find out more.