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Chancellor’s support for Boots branch gives CPE ‘glimmer of hope’


Chancellor’s support for Boots branch gives CPE ‘glimmer of hope’

By Neil Trainis

Community Pharmacy England chief executive Janet Morrison has said chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s decision to sign a petition this month to stop a branch of Boots from closing in a Surrey village “provides a glimmer of hope” for pharmacy’s negotiator as it continues “to press the government” to improve community pharmacy funding.

Morrison said the branch’s impending closure was further evidence that “pharmacies of all shapes and sizes” across England are struggling to stay open because of government funding cuts but took encouragement from Hunt's support to keep the pharmacy in Farncombe open. Hunt (pictured) is the Conservative MP for South West Surrey.

Local resident and campaigner Daniel Husseini started the petition on August 1, which is aimed specifically at Boots managing director Sebastian James, in an attempt to keep the branch open. It has attracted more than 1,000 signatures.

Boots last month announced it would close 300 branches across the UK. Husseini said the branch on Farncombe Street was “a mainstay of the local community” and particularly important to residents who don’t have a car and people who have “mobility issues.”

Morrison took some hope from Hunt’s signature and said: “Pharmacies of all shapes and sizes across the country are facing tough decisions about their financial viability and it is always moving to hear stories of just how important they are to their local communities and the patients who rely upon them.

“As larger chains announce closures and consolidations to support the rest of their portfolio, smaller and medium-sized businesses are having to look at other options in the struggle to make ends meet: running a community pharmacy remains, for most, a battle for survival.

“A show of support from the chancellor provides a glimmer of hope as we continue to press the government to provide sustainable funding to protect this vital healthcare network and enable pharmacies to be part of the solution to some of the wider primary care issues they need to tackle.”

Morrison urged the government and the NHS to “take action to reverse the damage that their historic funding cuts are causing.”


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