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#SaveOurPharmacies petition tops 100k as two-thirds slash opening hours

The cross-sector #SaveOurPharmacies petition has garnered more than 100,000 signatures as pharmacies across the UK take part in an “unprecedented” day of action today.

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) today (June 20) announced that a national petition to #SaveOurPharmacies, launched by a coalition of pharmacy bodies in March last year, has topped 100,000 signatures.

It comes as pharmacies across the UK are today taking part in an “emergency” day of protest action organised by the NPA to “signify dark times for the beleaguered community pharmacy sector”.

Read more: Pharmacies to ‘turn out the lights’ on June 20 in ‘emergency’ protest

The NPA said it expects “as many as 6,000” pharmacies to join the “unprecedented co-ordinated” protest by turning the lights out between 9am and 11am, asking staff to wear black or blacking out windows, and using the day to engage with patients and parliamentary candidates.

The petition, which calls on the government to deliver “immediate, fair and sustained funding to safeguard NHS pharmacy services and ensure local pharmacies have a future”, has collected 92,000 signatures online as well many more in local pharmacies across the four nations.


Slashed opening hours


Meanwhile, the NPA today revealed that around two-thirds (63%) of pharmacies in England “have had to cut their opening hours since 2015 due to extreme funding pressures”.

New analysis of pharmacy opening hours between 2015 and 2024 by the membership body found that on average, there has been a 6.1 hour reduction (10%) in opening hours for every pharmacy.

Read more: Welcome to the funeral for Community Pharmacy - almost

It said that “many” pharmacies have been left with “no choice but to shut on weekends or reduce evening opening times due to funding cuts”.

The analysis, which looked at a “geographically representative sample” of 110 pharmacies across England, found that:

  • 63% of pharmacies had decreased their opening hours since 2015, with only 2.5% increasing their hours during this period

  • Pharmacies were open for an average of 54.2 hours a week in 2015 compared to 48.1 hours in 2024

  • Nearly 5% of the pharmacies sampled had “shut their doors completely” during the period


Yesterday, C+D revealed that Asda is paying its pharmacies an incentive to accept "compressed contracted hours” and “fewer days” in new “voluntary” contracts.


“State of emergency”



“Cutting opening hours is a last resort for pharmacies desperately trying to make ends meet in the face of a decade of cuts, which is why they feel compelled to take action to protest against what is the worst crisis in the community pharmacy sector in living memory,” NPA chief executive Paul Rees said.

He added that pharmacy owners “will go to great lengths to keep their pharmacy open, including borrowing money from friends or family, remortgaging their own homes and reducing their opening hours”.

Read more: Pharmacy lights out protest: PDA warns against ‘dire consequences’

But he stressed that the “current situation is unsustainable”, adding that three-quarters of pharmacies are “in the red” and “many are simply being pushed to the brink”.

“We need the politicians to wake up to the fact there is now a state of emergency within community pharmacy across our four nations,” Rees said.

Read more: PDA to launch own ‘campaign’ after June 20 pharmacy lights out protest

While all the “main” parties have set out manifesto commitments for community pharmacy “for the first time in living memory”, the NPA is pushing “whoever forms the next government to deliver a new deal for community pharmacy” to put the sector “on a viable footing”, it said.

Earlier this month, the pharmacy union published an open letter to the NPA saying that employee and locum pharmacists “should not come under pressure to participate” in its June 20 protest and raising concerns around patient safety.

But last week, it said that it would launch its own separate but “supportive” campaign at a later date, after “discussions” with the NPA.


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