Yesterday in Parliament the MP for York Outer, Julian Sturdy, raised his concerns over proposals to reduce community pharmacy budgets as part of the Governments plans to deliver £22 billion of efficiency savings in the NHS by 2020.
Speaking in the debate Mr Sturdy said:
“A pharmacy owner in my constituency has contacted me to say if these proposed cuts go through it would mean that he would have to cut staff and apprenticeships that he is training up, reduce opening hours and stop the free services many of my constituents rely upon, such as deliveries to housebound patients. So this wouldn’t just stop many of the important services that my constituents and many others get from these rural pharmacies but it will also deeply impact on skills going back into these services, skills that we have to protect.”
In the debate Alistair Burt MP, the Minister of State of Health, stated that these efficiency savings could be made within community pharmacies without compromising the quality of services or public access to them.
Speaking after the debate Mr Sturdy said:
“I know that the Government is still at a very early stage of negotiations with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), patients and patient bodies, however I welcome the opportunity to raise constituent concerns and the concerns of local businesses. I have been told that the Government will consult on the introduction of a Pharmacy Access Scheme, which will consider factors such as location and the health needs of the local population, ensuring less efficiency savings will be made from certain pharmacies. Whilst I see this as encouraging I am determined to keep a close eye on developments and make sure that we support our independent pharmacies that are integral to local communities. I will continue to press the Minister on this issue.”
The Government will now continue detailed discussions with the PSNC and more details are expected in April.