The NPA has described today’s Department of Health announcement about cuts to pharmacy services as a “slap in the face” for hardworking pharmacy teams and for millions of concerned patients. The NPA vowed to fight on, and is urgently seeking safeguards against the impact of the cuts, to protect vulnerable patients and communities.
NPA chairman Ian Strachan said: “The Government’s approach shows a complete disregard for the community pharmacy sector and the wellbeing of patients. This is slap in the face for hardworking pharmacy teams and for concerned patients. Millions of worried patients have asked the Department of Health to think again. Politicians from all parties are against the cuts. It is abundantly clear that the current policy approach is flawed and universally unpopular.
“Yet elements within government seem determined to press ahead with this damaging experiment, deaf to the nationwide protests. It is clear that they believe there are too many pharmacies and want closures. In the long run, thousands are at risk, unless there is a change of mindset and a change of direction amongst Ministers and officials.
“What concerns us most is the idea that still exists in parts of government and NHS which views pharmacy as merely a distribution point for medicines. Local pharmacies are so much more than that – they are a vital health and social care asset at the heart of communities.
“We will fight on in the light of today’s announcement. What gives us grounds for hope is the unprecedented level of public awareness and active political support that has been generated over the past months. This will form the basis of an ongoing effort to fundamentally shift the direction of government policy, so that pharmacies are seen as a solution to deep-seated problems in the NHS, not as a problem."