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Contractor tells Vaz: I'm using own money to survive 20% cut

A Leicestershire contractor has told his local Labour MP, Keith Vaz, that he is having to invest his own money into his pharmacy to stay afloat.

Altaf Vaiya, owner of Alpharm Chemist, said he is having to use his "personal money to support [the] business through this tough time", after government payments dropped by “nearly 20%”.

Last week, C+D exclusively revealed that the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) is investigating "concerns" from contractors experiencing a drop in payments since December 2016 "closer to 20%", rather than the 12% the negotiator predicted last year.

“A lot of pharmacies are questioning how the cutbacks have taken more money out of their pockets than they were expecting,” Mr Vaiya told C+D this morning (June 7).

Mr Vaiya – who ran unsuccessfully for the English board of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society this year – said his business’s chances of “survival” are “decreasing” because the “cash flow is getting drained”, putting him in a “very difficult situation” with “constant strain”.

Political engagement

Mr Vaiya has been exchanging messages, which you can view below, with shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth – MP for Leicester South – “since the general election was announced”, he said.

He was able to put his concerns to Labour MP for Leicester East Keith Vaz in person, when Mr Vaz visited his pharmacy yesterday.

Mr Vaiya explained he is continuing the work of Leicester local pharmaceutical committee (LPC), which has already spoken about community pharmacy with all three MPs in the city, as the government “needs to understand the value of pharmacy”.

“As pharmacists, if we don't make our voice heard, then who's going to support it?” he added.

The Labour party has pledged in its manifesto to “halt pharmacy closures” if it is successful in tomorrow’s general election.

During the visit, Mr Vaz made a plea to pharmacists to vote for Labour, “to help give pharmacists a better deal”.

Watch the full video, courtesy of Mr Vaiya:

Message from Jonathan Ashworth to Altaf Vaiya:

Have your payments from the government dropped more than expected?

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