Pharmacies Minister David Mowat MP announced at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society conference that planned cuts to community pharmacy had been put on hold.
The government had previously announced that from October it would cut £170m from community pharmacy funding. The then Department of Health Minister Alistair Burt had admitted that this would lead to up to 3000 pharmacy closures across the country.
Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake, who supported a campaign to save local pharmacies six months ago, has welcomed a pause in Government plans for cuts which could have led to the closure of up to eleven pharmacies in Sutton.
Tom met with local pharmacists to hear their concerns and backed their local campaign against the closures. He wrote to health ministers to urge them to reconsider and raised concerns over closures in Parliament.
Tom said: “This announcement will come as a massive relief to patients who depend heavily on their local pharmacies for repeat prescriptions for chronic conditions, cholesterol checks, smoking cessation help and many other critical services.
“I am pleased that the Government has halted, at least for the time being, their plans to slash budgets for community pharmacies. Community pharmacists are often people’s first point of contact with the health system. They take pressure off GPs and A&E Departments, meaning people in need of urgent care are seen more quickly. They don’t just give out medicines, but also medical assistance and advice.”
“But the battle isn’t over yet. The Government’s pause could still turn into an attack on pharmacies. We must all remain vigilant.”