This week the Government have announced that community pharmacies will face a 12% cut on current funding levels for the rest of this financial year, and a 7.4% cut on current levels the year after.
The pharmacy sector expect the effect of these cuts to be devastating and the government Minister previously responsible for pharmacy funding estimated earlier this year that up to 3,000, a quarter of all pharmacies, could close because of these cuts.
Research produced by the House of Commons Libraries for the Labour Health Team has shown how many pharmacies are at risk in each region.
Across Dagenham, Rainham, South Hornchurch and Elm Park there is a possibility that over five local pharmacies could close. In the London area over 470 pharmacies could face closure.
Cross-party concern was shown in the House of Commons on the effect of the cuts, and Labour forced the cuts to a vote on Wednesday 2nd November where Jon Cruddas MP voted against the damaging cuts.
The Government has announced a Pharmacy Access Scheme (PhAS) to ease the burden of the cuts on areas where there are fewer pharmacies and higher health needs, but the scheme will benefit some regions significantly more than others.
In Dagenham and Rainham just five per cent of pharmacies are eligible for the pharmacy access scheme.
Jon Cruddas MP commented: “Local pharmacies are vital assets for the community and these cuts are totally short-sighted. Our pharmacies play an integral role in both the local economy and the local community, often providing an important boost for surrounding small business which is something we should be encouraging.
“Pharmacies provide very important face to face health services, particularly for the elderly, disabled and those with long term illnesses, and any pharmacy closures or service cutbacks will only cause extra pressure to be piled on already overstretched GP and A&E services.
“It is reckless irresponsibility for the Government to be pushing ahead with these cuts despite admitting they have no idea how many pharmacies could close as a result. I was proud to vote against these cuts on Wednesday and Labour will be keeping up the fight to save our community pharmacies.”