Steve Brine MP has signed a letter to the Prime Minister highlighting the importance of local pharmacies and calls for action to prevent further closures.
The letter, signed by 24 parliamentarians, stresses the potential for pharmacies to help clear the backlogs in healthcare but also warns that worse could be yet to come after “spiralling business costs” and “year after year of real terms funding cuts” have led to hundreds of pharmacy closures. New data from the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) shows that 639 vital local pharmacies have been lost in England since 2016. “This is the equivalent to just short of one pharmacy closure per constituency”, the cross-party group warn.
The letter comes as MPs came together at a parliamentary summit to call for pharmacies to be embraced as a “game-changer” for tackling healthcare backlogs and taking pressure off other areas of the NHS. Local pharmacy teams remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and played a vital role in delivering COVID-19 vaccines. Now a dangerous combination of underfunding, workforce pressures and a rise in physical and verbal abuse is “pushing pharmacies to the brink”.
Steve Brine MP said: “Pharmacy teams play such an important role in our healthcare system and have the potential to do so much more. However, it seems that the sector continues to be undervalued and starved of investment leading many local pharmacies to close. In my own constituency of Winchester, this has led to 2 closures since 2016. Looking ahead, we need to understand the valuable work that community pharmacists do every day."