A petition urging the government to cover the extra costs incurred by community pharmacies during the Covid-19 pandemic has surpassed 40,000 signatures.
The petition, organised by the not-for-profit political activism organisation 38 Degrees and created by the National Pharmacy Association, warned “a third of family-owned pharmacies in England are now in deficit and some have closed for good.”
Aimed at the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England and Improvement, the petition now has 40,400 signatures.
In a reference to the £370 million in advance payments from Government to help with cash flow during the pandemic, the petition said: “Let pharmacies keep the money they were given to help with the crippling extra costs of staying open and providing vital healthcare.
“For months, pharmacy teams across the UK have been working without respite on the NHS front-line, playing a vital role in the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and helping reduce the pressure on GPs and A&Es.
“But the government hasn't done enough to give community pharmacies the money they need to meet the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.”
The petition warned “many more family-owned pharmacies in England could soon be forced to shut their doors unless the Government acts".
It added: “The first step is to let pharmacies keep the money they were given for the crippling extra costs of staying open during the pandemic. This money was spent by pharmacies to provide vital healthcare and the government must keep its promise to cover these extra costs.
“Community pharmacies are a local lifeline. They provide vital health and social care in communities across the country, including the most deprived neighbourhoods. Please support our local pharmacies – so they can continue to keep people well and save lives!”