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Penny Mordaunt slams 'unacceptable' pharmacy provision following closures

Prescription waits of over an hour caused by pharmacy closures are “not acceptable”, the leader of the House of Commons has admitted.  

Penny Mordaunt has deemed prescription queues caused by pharmacy closures “serious” and said that she will escalate the issue to health secretary Victoria Atkins.

Last week (March 14), Conservative MP for Rugby Mark Pawsey told the House of Commons that following pharmacy closures in the town, residents have had “to queue for more than an hour to get a prescription”.

“I am aware of offers to set up new pharmacies, but they have been turned down by our health and wellbeing board, which unbelievably says that there is sufficient provision in our area”, he added, calling for a debate on the process.

Ms Mordaunt said she “was sorry to hear about the situation” and that she would “make sure” that the health secretary “hears [the] concerns”.

“That level of service is not acceptable for his constituents,” she admitted. 

 

Change of tune

 

Meanwhile, just last month, pharmacy minister Andrea Leadsom said that pharmacy numbers remained “good”.

Responding to a question about what steps the government was taking to ensure that there was “adequate pharmacy provision”, Dame Andrea said that “there were 10,673 pharmacies…providing NHS services in England” as of December.

“Access remains good with 80% of the population” living within a 20 minutes’ walk of a pharmacy “and twice as many pharmacies in the most deprived areas of the country,” she said.

It comes as C+D reported last week that the Liverpool Health and Wellbeing Board will monitor pharmacy provision after the city saw a “concerning” drop of almost 10% in the number of pharmacies since 2022 – although it insisted that pharmacy provision remains “sufficient” for its population.

And C+D revealed in June that the Pharmaceutical Services Regulation Committee for Cheshire and Merseyside had rejected an application from Rowlands to merge its branch on Lodge Lane with its store at The Elms, both in Liverpool’s L8 area.

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