Pharmacies play a crucial role in our community. Not only do they dispense medication locally and conveniently, they also offer information and guidance to local residents which may prevent unnecessary visits to their GPs for everyday illnesses.
Which is why the Government’s recent announcement that budgets for community pharmacies will be reduced by 3.4% in 2016/17 and 4% in 2017/18 is extremely concerning.
As usual with this Government’s attitude towards healthcare they are driven by cost and not concerns for care. In fact research into the Government’s cuts have suggest they will have a disproportionately negative impact on the most deprived areas, such as ours.
When our health services are being stretched to capacity, the importance of community pharmacies is greater than ever. Closures of pharmacies or a reduction in provisions will only lead to increase the huge pressure on GPs and A&E services. This will have the greatest effect on the deprived, elderly and long-term sick.
That is why today the Labour Party is holding a debate on the Government's cuts to pharmacies. We must ensure that community pharmacies, such as the eleven in my constituency, are protected and supported in continuing to provide their vital service.