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Burt backtracks on 3,000 pharmacy closures

Alistair Burt: Funding will take areas of deprivation into account

Pharmacy minister also stressed that new system of funding will not be solely allocated according to a pharmacy's location

The pharmacy minister has backtracked on his prediction that up to 3,000 pharmacies could close as a result of the planned funding cuts.

Alistair Burt MP told the House of Commons that it "was not the aim of the government to close pharmacies".

He stressed the government does not yet know "how the funding will fall", when questioned by Labour MP George Howarth on how the cuts would affect independent pharmacies and those in deprived communities.

"I accept it was me who said to the meeting with the all-party [pharmacy] group that up to 3,000 pharmacies could be affected, but it may not happen that way at all," Mr Burt said during a parliamentary debate on Tuesday evening (May 24).

Pharmacy funding not based "purely on location" 

He also confirmed that the proposed system of pharmacy funding – set to replace establishment payments – will not be allocated "purely on location" and will take into account areas of deprivation.

Labour MP Michael Dugher called for, and led, the debate about community pharmacy funding. He stressed that there is “massive opposition” to the planned cuts.

The government must “listen to the public” and “consider the mounting evidence that the cuts will be bad for many of our local communities”, Mr Dugher said. “It is a reckless leap into unknown and it is the NHS, patients and every community in the country that will pay the price,” he said.

Cuts "make no sense"

Labour MP for Sefton Central Bill Esterson said it “makes no sense” to cut a service that can provide the support necessary to make up for the “challenging circumstances” faced by GPs.

Fellow Labour MP for Halifax Holly Lynch said if the 3,000 closures come to pass, it would raise “very serious questions" about how the government has reorganised the NHS.

Mr Burt has previously dodged the issue of how funding cuts will affect rural and urban pharmacies, when answering written questions from MPs. 

The debate took place on the same day a National Pharmacy Association petition against the cuts was delivered to the Prime Minister. 


What do you make of Alistair Burt's response?

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M Yang, Community pharmacist

Alistair Burt, I would have thought ministers would have aides to tell you what not to say. I recall him saying that 99% of people in this country have a car, now he's trying to back track and insist that the aim isn't to close pharmacies. He should do himself a favour and remember the phrase "the less said, the better."

Pharmacy HLP, Manager

What a joke, not knowing or not caring about the consequences on so many peoples lives. So many staff under pressure and patients could lose valuable local services swallowed up by the national juggernauts and their far removed processes.

The prescriptions will still need to be done and I believe in time payments will have to be made for delivery which will far out weigh the costs that they might want to save. 

Patient care and access will suffer with all the costs that this entails.

Still as long as you didn't mean it thats okay then.


Farm Assistant, Community pharmacist

And this coming from some of the most corrupt politicians in the world. Anyone want a duck house going cheap? I think the MP in question claimed £2000 and yet a pharmacist was struck off for 16 fraudulent MURs! We need a revolution and we need it NOW.

Nailesh Patel, Community pharmacist

Er.....methinks the mp who claimed for a duck house was a guy surnamed viggers

Farm Assistant, Community pharmacist

Quack Quack!

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

What I want to know is what Burt and Boots discussed at their PRIVATE meeting in September.

Stephen Walsh, Community pharmacist

His future directorship after the next election?

Farm Assistant, Community pharmacist

Whether in pounds or euros.

Stephen Walsh, Community pharmacist

This bloke's making it up as he goes along.

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

when he says its not the govts aim is that so when they actually close Pharmacies as a result, they can say oops, missed....

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

Lie after lie. First Ridge now Burt. What a comic duo.

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