Steve McCabe MP, Birmingham Selly Oak, has joined local pharmacies in his constituency to call on the government to protect pharmacy funding.
Steve recently met with Pharmacist, Shilla Shah of Evergreen Pharmacy in Billesley who explained her worries about the government’s proposals to cut funding for community pharmacies and the impact this will have on patients and independent businesses like hers.
After hearing from Ms Shah and a number of other independent pharmacists across SellyOak with the same concerns, Steve has questioned the government on the proposals.
The Government plans to cut funding for community pharmacies in England by 6% this October which means that the overall annual funding will fall by £170 million. Independent pharmacies like Evergreen will potentially lose around £14,500 a year despite the NHS repeatedly telling the public to visit community pharmacies rather than overwhelmed hospitals.
A poll of more than 500 pharmacists by Chemist and Druggist magazine revealed almost half will be forced to reduce their staff to cope with the funding drop. A quarter said they will reduce the services they offer patients and a fifth fear they may have to close their business altogether which will inevitably affect patients. More than 11,000 pharmacists and members of the public have signed a petition to protest against the proposals.
Steve McCabe MP said:
“It was a pleasure to visit Evergreen Pharmacy in Billesley and see first-hand the fantastic work they do to provide much needed pharmaceutical services to the local community from their stop smoking support to their doorstep delivery service. I am concerned about the government’s proposals to cut funding for community pharmacies which will inevitably see local businesses in my constituency affected which is why I have questioned them on this.
“The government response has been non-committal as they have said they are continuing to consult on pharmacy funding. They have, however, acknowledged that a consequence of the cuts may be the closure of some pharmacies. Obviously for patients who rely on community pharmacies, this will not be welcome news. I have written to local pharmacies in my constituency to assure them that I am on their side and will continue to raise this issue in Parliament.”