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Petition to 'save our pharmacies' tops 1.8k signatures in one day

A petition demanding “immediate, fair and sustained funding" for England's community pharmacies has reached over 1,800 signatures just a day after it was launched

Published by a coalition of community pharmacy bodies yesterday (March 8) as part of the Save Our Pharmacies campaign, the petition had amassed 1,853 signatures at the time of publication. 

It calls on the government to "provide immediate, fair and sustained funding, to safeguard NHS pharmacy services and ensure local pharmacies have a future". The petition also adds to calls for a fully funded Pharmacy First Service in England.

"Without fair funding from the government, many more pharmacies will be forced to close," it warned.

In October, it was revealed that there was a net loss of 110 pharmacies in England in 2021/22, resulting in the lowest number of pharmacies since 2015.

Read more: Pharmacy bodies join forces to fight for more funding as closure threat looms

The Save Our Pharmacies campaign, which launched in January, is backed by the Association of Independent Multiple pharmacies (AIMp), the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC). 

In their latest joint statement, the pharmacy bodies said “a campaign of this kind” benefits from having “a clear call to action like a petition”. This gives the campaign a “persistent drum beat”, they said.

They added they are determined to keep working together “to secure fair funding in England”. 

 

Save Our Pharmacies website

 

The professional bodies have also launched a website as part of their campaign. It contains “key messages for [the] public, politicians and stakeholders”, they said.

The website hosts campaign resources to be used by pharmacy teams, while "new resources will be added” to ensure “maximum public engagement”, they added.

“Members of the public and pharmacy teams are encouraged to show their support for the campaign on social media, as well as to sign the petition and contact their local MPs about fair funding,” they commented.

 

Pharmacies being forced “into bankruptcy”

 

The announcement of the campaign came just hours after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was questioned about the plight of community pharmacies in the House of Commons.

Steve McCabe, Labour MP for Birmingham, Selly Oak, asked Mr Sunak how he would feel “if 600 [community pharmacies] close this year because of a vicious NHS contract”.

England's five-year contract, “takes no account of rising costs” and “is forcing many [community pharmacies] into bankruptcy”, Mr McCabe told MPs during Prime Minister's Questions.

Mr Sunak replied that he “praised the work community pharmacies do” and reiterated that “the government is exploring ways in which [they] can support them to do even more”.

Read more: Primary care recovery plan: Barclay wants pharmacists to do 'even more'

Pharmacies in England have had to contend with a flat £2.5 billion annual global sum since a five-year deal was reached by the government and PSNC in 2019.

 

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