CCA warns GP and pharmacy services are reducing in England
Nearly a thousand pharmacies closed in England between 2015 and 2022, according to an analysis by the Company Chemists Association.
Drawing on data from NHS Digital, the CCA said there were 808 permanent closures and 138 new pharmacy openings, equating to a net loss of 670, with at least 55 permanent closures in 2022-23.
There has been a net loss of 720 pharmacies since 2015, with parts of the North-West, West Midlands and Yorkshire suffering most of the closures. The CCA warned that without government intervention, some areas of the country could soon experience “cold spots” – where “primary care is significantly reduced or inadequate altogether.”
CCA chief executive Malcolm Harrison (pictured) said the government is “sleepwalking into a disaster within primary care” and warned health inequalities will worsen if community pharmacy is not funded properly.
“The CCA has been warning about permanent closures of pharmacies for some time. The sector is underfunded by more than £67,000 per pharmacy annually, money which could be invested in frontline staff to provide patient care,” he said.
“This is a wake-up call to the government – primary care desperately needs investment.” Harrison reiterated his call for a fully funded Pharmacy First scheme.
The CCA, who also said there has been a net loss of 363 GP practices since 2015, said its analysis “demonstrates that the trend of permanent closures amongst pharmacies and GP practices is worsening” and warned permanent closures are “occurring disproportionately in areas of high deprivation.”
“Without action, deprived communities, where need is typically greater, may no longer be able to access the GP and pharmacy services they require,” the CCA said.