Pharmacy bodies and readers have unanimously slammed the government's decision to slash the global sum of pharmacy funding by 6% as an "assault" on the sector.
The Department of Health (DH) and NHS England plan to cut funding by at least £170 million in October 2016, they announced yesterday (December 17). This will reduce funding from the current level of £2.8bn to “no higher" than £2.63bn, they said.
You can read a roundup of the reaction below, and find C+D's full coverage of the cuts here.
National Pharmacy Association
Chair Ian Strachan said the cuts will "severely hamper" pharmacists' ability to serve patients.
"[This] looks like an assault on the very part of the health system that holds the key to solving many of its problems. The NPA and our members will not take this lying down," he said.
Royal Pharmaceutical Society
RPS English Pharmacy Board chair Sandra Gidley said the "short-sighted" cuts will have a "substantial impact" on pharmacy businesses.
"This news will make community pharmacists feel completely undervalued, at a time when we are all working incredibly hard," she said.
Managing director John D'Arcy said it is "inevitable" that some pharmacies will close as a result of the cuts, and claimed that this is the government's intention.
"[The DH's] letter is a slap in the face to a sector and represents a clear disincentive to invest in enhancing service delivery. More importantly, it creates a real risk to the continuity and quality of services to patients," he said.
Chief executive Rob Daracott said the cuts are "certain to hurt the sector".
"Many contractors, currently in the midst of the Christmas rush, will be rightly anxious as to how this £170m cut will affect their patients, their businesses, their livelihoods and those of their pharmacy teams and other employees," he said.
Readers took to the C+D website and Twitter to vent their frustration, with many saying the cuts would mean some pharmacies will no longer be viable.
Superintendent pharmacist Max Falconer said the changes will "sweep away community pharmacy as we know it".
"I think we could easily lose half the pharmacies, and the remainder will be glorified parcel collection centres," he said.
Pre-registration student Ali Mansour said the cuts would see owners take a "step back" from investing in their pharmacy. "This 6% cut represents a reduction in the gross profit of a pharmacy business which is used to pay all the staff salaries, rent and keep the lights on," he said.
Community pharmacist Dilip Shah called on pharmacist to "make a stand" and said the sector should consider striking.
"This government is too quick to dictate, without any long term strategy or thought," he added.
Read the best of the Twitter reactions below
#pharmacycuts a number of pharmacies will certainly face closure. How to keep your business afloat will be key. Share best practice— Amish Patel (@amishpatel1985) December 17, 2015
#pharmacycuts This demonstrates our value in the eyes of the government. Lets take a page from junior doctors book and see what happens— Amish Patel (@amishpatel1985) December 17, 2015
Years of providing services for free and this is how DoH thanks us! #pharmacycuts— Cookes Chemist (@cookeschemist) December 17, 2015
@CandDSamuel in a word, shafted. We couldn't dodge the inevitable pressure on funding forever but the way its been done is shameful.— Paul Mason (@psmason73) December 17, 2015
@CandDSamuel This is outrageous. It will certainly destabilise the CP network and patient services will suffer as a consequence— mimi lau (@mimilau2) December 17, 2015
Make your voice heard by sharing your thoughts below this story, or on Twitter using #pharmacycuts.