A group of 20 MPs from a variety of political parties have called for urgent action to be taken to support community pharmacies.
In a signed a letter addressed to pharmacy minister Dame Andrea Leadsom MP, they expressed concerns that 1,400 pharmacies have closed since October 2016 due to mounting pressures in the sector, and that more will follow if urgent action is not taken. Labour MP Judith Cummins urged the Government to acknowledge the crucial role of community pharmacies in the healthcare system, adding: “they are pillars of the community offering important face-to-face services like vaccines and a wide range of other healthcare advice… Yet, they are having to do more with less.”
They also expressed concern about the impact the 9.8 per cent increase of the National Living Wage in 2024 will have on the community pharmacy sector, estimating that it will result in an additional cost of £150m-£195m.
Chief executive of Community Pharmacy England, Janet Morrison, said that pharmacies are facing enough issues already. “This cannot continue, and we appeal to the new health minister to address these and all of the concerns outlined in this letter.”