Community Pharmacies Opposition Day Vote
On Wednesday November 2nd Labour held an Opposition Day debate to call on the Government to ensure that community pharmacies are protected from service reduction and closure. The Government are planning a 12% reduction on current funding levels for the rest of the 2015-16 financial year and a 7% cut next year.
The plan is called the ‘Pharmacy Access Scheme’ and just like many other Tory schemes it will base funding on performance rather than need. The cost of these cuts will be enormous with a Tory Minister admitting earlier this year that up to 3,000 community pharmacies could close as a result.
Many pharmacies in Halewood deliver medication, up to 8.30 pm, to elderly and vulnerable people who cannot get out of the house, and to care homes, a service that could by lost when these cuts go ahead.
NHS funding and resources are already stretched to breaking point with A&E waits lengthening and GP appointments becoming harder and harder to come by. Pharmacy closures will only pile more pressure on a health service already in crisis.
In Merseyside this scheme means that only 18 out of nearly 400 chemist shops will get funding and only 1 out of 27 in Garston and Halewood. Overall 1,063 pharmacies in Tory seats will benefit, compared to only 266 in Labour areas. Worryingly this means that the areas with the greatest need for services will see the greatest cuts.
Sadly we lost the vote on Wednesday but Labour MPs and some Tory MPs will continue to fight for changes to the Pharmacy Access Scheme so that pharmacies in our area get the funding they so vitally need.