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The pharmacy funding cuts have touched the nation

Healthcare issues rarely become tabletop discussions for the Waldron family, but the pharmacy cuts have got everyone talking.

I don’t know about you, but I find meals with my extended family are a good way of gauging the mood of the nation. So imagine my surprise when on my latest visit, I heard my family debating, not Brexit or Bake Off, but the pharmacy cuts.

Despite a number of my relatives working in the NHS, discussions about healthcare rarely make it onto the dinner table. Which made it all the more unusual to overhear references to recent news stories on the upcoming funding cut, along with concerned comments about how elderly neighbours would cope if the worst happens and the local pharmacy is forced to shut its doors.

Like us, you’re probably still coming to terms with the full implications of the government’s plan to reduce funding for community pharmacy in England. But whether you’re directly in the firing line or not, our in-depth guide to the changes (published online tomorrow) should shed more light on the details, and thinking, behind them.

Of course, it’s not just about the loss of revenue for pharmacies, but how this could affect their services, staff, and ultimately patients. That’s why C+D has already hosted its first online debate on the topic, to find out how readers are preparing for the impact of the drop in funding next month.

Barely a day now goes by when a local or national news outlet doesn’t cover the pharmacy cuts in some form. It’s this increased awareness – not just among pharmacists and their legions of loyal patients – but the wider public, that gives me hope.

For a sector that has long suffered from being overlooked by policy makers in favour of general practice and nursing, the fact that this threat to pharmacy’s future is now the source of nationwide debate shows a major shift is taking place.

As I write this, MPs in the House of Commons are once again taking the government to task, forcing ministers to justify their short-sighted policies for the sector. Outside parliament on College Green, the National Pharmacy Association has rallied together pharmacists and patients in a show of solidarity.

If my family dinner conversations are anything to go by, the country is behind them.


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