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Labour MPs secure Commons debate on 'cack-handed' cuts

Opposition MPs have secured a parliamentary debate for next week to contest the “cack-handed” cuts to pharmacy funding.

The government’s “final package” for community pharmacy – which was confirmed last week and will see the global sum in England cut by 12% in December – will be debated in the House of Commons next Wednesday (November 2).

Labour’s shadow minister for community health Julie Cooper – who ran a community pharmacy for 20 years – said the government’s proposals “show no understanding of the contribution community pharmacies make to patients, communities and to the NHS as a whole”.

Labour MP Michael Dugher, who tabled the latest debate, took to the streets in his constituency in Barnsley East two days ago (October 26) to campaign against the cuts.  

He said Wednesday’s vote in the House of Commons would “hold ministers to account for their cuts plan” and allow MPs “from all parties” to have their say on the “cack-handed cutbacks”.

“Even Tory backbenchers are lamenting” the funding proposals, he added.

Conservative MPs seek assurances

A number of Conservative MPs raised concerns in a parliamentary debate last week (October 19) where pharmacy minister David Mowat was forced to defend the planned cuts to the sector's funding.

Philip Hollobone MP said the government’s proposals are “spreading fear up and down the country”, while Kit Malthouse MP asked for reassurances that “dwindling numbers of rural pharmacies” will be protected by the pharmacy access scheme.

National Pharmacy Association chairman Ian Strachan said the debate could be “of great significance”.

“Whether the vote is won or lost, this is a timely and important opportunity to maintain pressure on the government to reconsider its short and medium-term position,” he added.

The NPA is urging pharmacists to lobby their local MP to take part in the debate.

"If your pharmacy and/or your home is in a constituency of a Conservative MP, you have an extra special part to play," Mr Strachan stressed.

Will you be contacting your MP ahead of next Wednesday's debate?

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