APPG: Government expects up to 3,000 pharmacies to close
Pharmacy minister Alistair Burt estimates 1,000-3,000 pharmacies will close because of funding cuts in England, according to the all-party pharmacy group
*This article was first published as breaking news on January 22*
The government is braced for more than a quarter of pharmacies in England to close as a result of the 6% cut to the global sum, the all-party pharmacy group (APPG) has said.
Pharmacy minister Alistair Burt estimates that between 1,000 and 3,000 pharmacies will close because of the funding cut, according to an APPG report of a meeting with the minister published today (January 22).
Mr Burt used a meeting last week (January 13) to stress that pharmacies need to become less reliant on dispensing income, the APPG said. The minister told the APPG that those that rely heaviest on this income will feel the greatest financial "squeeze", it said.
Mr Burt is determined that the 6% cut to pharmacy funding will go ahead in October and "protesting will not change this", according to the APPG.
Department of Health (DH) head of pharmacy Jeannette Howe, who also attended the meeting, confirmed that the government plans further cuts to pharmacy funding in future years, the APPG said.
Ms Howe said the government will consider a "phased" approach to decreasing pharmacy funding, according to the APPG.
Which pharmacies will close?
Mr Burt told the APPG that the government will not decide which pharmacies would close, the group said. Instead, Mr Burt said contractors will need to decide whether they are viable in light of the £170 million drop in the global sum, according to the group.
He said multiples will be better placed to cope with the cuts, so the government will look into ways of helping smaller pharmacies survive, as well as those wishing to "retire", the APPG said.
Ms Howe said the government could not be sure about the precise number of pharmacy closures, because it does not have access to the "accounts of individual pharmacies", the APPG added.
C+D has drafted a template letter for readers to raise awareness of the impact of the cuts with their MP.
More news on the funding cuts...