Community pharmacy closures, especially in deprived areas, are a growing concern, says PSNC chief executive Simon Dukes.
In his latest vlog, Mr Dukes says that since 2016 over 600 pharmacies have closed in England, 200 in the last 12 months alone despite the £370m advanced payment. “Concerningly, 30 per cent of these closures happened in the most deprived areas [of the country],” he points out.
“The Department of Health and Social Care will tell you that there are more pharmacies in those areas so losing a few probably doesn’t matter. Also that Government spend on pharmaceutical services is greater than in non-deprived areas and that not many pharmacies in the Pharmacy Access Scheme have actually closed.
“What PSNC is saying to ministers is that, yes, there are more pharmacies in deprived areas but not when adjusted for population. And more money is spent on pharmaceutical services because there are greater health needs – which is why you need more pharmacies in the first place.”
In particular, any pharmacy eligible for PhAS funding that closes is surely unacceptable, said Mr Dukes.
“What ministers and officials have to understand is that pharmacy closures are a real and growing concern, both to NHS and patients. Over the next 12 months we will need to deal with the impacts of long Covid, health inequalities and the ongoing Covid vaccination requirement. We will need every community pharmacy,” he concluded.