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Keith Ridge: 'I get the frustration' over closures

Keith Ridge: Market will decide which pharmacies remain open

England's chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge says he "recognises how difficult" it is for contractors facing closure because of government funding cuts


England's chief pharmaceutical officer has claimed he understands "how difficult it is" for contractors facing closure because of government funding cuts.

Keith Ridge told C+D that he "gets the frustration" of owners that could be forced to close their pharmacies because of the 6% cut to the global sum in England

"It's really hard, my dad had his own business," Mr Ridge said yesterday (February 2).

Pharmacy minister Alistair Burt admitted last month that between 1,000 and 3,000 pharmacies could close because of the cut, planned for October. In a C+D poll last month, one in five readers said their pharmacy could face closure.

Mr Ridge, who initially announced the cut in an open letter to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) in December, told C+D "the market will decide" how many pharmacies remain open. 

"People will make estimates, but one way or another it will ultimately be [up to] the market," he said.

How government reached the 6% figure

Mr Ridge was vague when asked how the government had settled on the 6% cut to the global sum in England.

"A discussion involv[ing] a lot of people in the context of the [government's] spending review eventually came to that figure. I recognise the consequences, but it’s a very thorough process," he said.


Is your pharmacy at risk of closure because of the funding cut?

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Chander Kant Prinja, Superintendent Pharmacist

We need to unite and fight these cuts. Unfortunately, 100 hour pharmacies have damaged our profession and viability of some pharmacies. The way contracts were given for 100 hour pharmacies without pharmacy needs assessment or necessary and desirability criteria was wrong. Now we all have to suffer. 

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

So if Keith "gets it". What is he now going to do about it???? Encourage multiples that have towns sewed up to consolidate. In some cities, on main roads, there is a "bank" pharmacy every half a mile! And in a small village near me, there are TWO "shoe shops" and no other pharmacies. What kind of choice and competition is that? ! Keith should look at sorting that out first. And encourage 100 hour pharmacies to merge. In another town near me, there are two 100hr pharmacies NEXT door to each other!!!  And in another local small town/village, there are 5 pharmacies, and 2 of those are 100 hour!  I can see the Govt's point on that issue. 

Hopefully, some of the supermarkets and other 'Super' places will close their badly performing pharmacies. I just hope the Govt comes up with a good scheme to help protect rural areas and also independents in deprived areas. There must be a better way than just slashing funding and see who still floats.  The BigBoys could just subsidise loss making pharmacies just so they can keep their area/town monopoly. 

Hackney Drug Dealer, Community pharmacist

No surprises: the chief Hospital pharmacist bollix makes an ignorant statement. Index-linked pensions all round? 

John Alan James Robinson, Superintendent Pharmacist

By the way. KR is in charge or liases re pharmaceutical services in GB. I suppose that doesn't mean Dispensing Doctors. A 6% cut and increased periods of treatment could force some pharmacies to close in villages where there are dispensing practises. No problem. The Dispensing GP's will get a bomus. They control their own periods of treatment.

Guess what. More dispensing patients and 28 day scripts.

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

Are Dispensing Doctors going to get a 6% cut too????!  

Steve Stevens, Community pharmacist

Are the pda able to ballot their union members ?

Honest Tikes, Sales

Funny,in the picture he looks like a smug git who couldn't give a stuff.

He has accelerated the terminal decline of the profession and should leave the RPS,who should eject him if he doesn't.There is enough disunity within the profession but this is High Treason.Failing his departure why don't all community pharmacist resign and leave the bureacrats and academics to run the profession into the ground thus avoiding taint by association

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

Agreed!!!  That GPhC blokes also looks like a smug git too!  With his degree in FRENCH!  What does he know about pharmacy?  Probably on a 6 figure salary and massive pension too!  We're paying for it all too!!

Farm Assistant, Community pharmacist

Maybe it is because doctors have got some balls whereas pharmacists are pathetic. The junior doctors have just been on strike and were actually supported by most consultants. Meanwhile our area managers and so called leaders only care about themselves. Just remember that pretty soon there will be no pharmacists to "area manage"so maybe there is a God after all.

John Alan James Robinson, Superintendent Pharmacist

I have GP friend who works a three and a half day week and salaty in excess of £75 plus an annual bonus. Good luck to him. General practice is getting an increase. Meanwhile pharmacy is destined for a cut. The government has a document that shows that independents dispense prescriptions at a significantly lower cost than Large retail driven multiples.So the more efficient with lower costs per item are to be culled and the prescriptions dispensed by organisations with potentially much higher costs. See COSI ! I wonder at the lack of common sense and logic of those who govern. The public demand local surgeries. They don't necessarily realise both the potential and friable nature of the pharmacy network. Keith Ridge doesnt get it . I understand that the groups have some low dispensing outlets. Market share mantra probably means that the will stay open. They will have a dispensing hub. What about small rural contractors who probably exist on £25 an hour or less ? More to the point, what about the villagers many of whom are over 80. KR doesn't get it.

Bapi Patel, Work for a health/commissioning consultancy company

C&D needs to read their guidelines concerning comments on this website. There is at least 1 person posting who is in breach of at least half of the guidelines. A debate should be a debate and not hijacked by the rantings of  a shouty politically dogmatic child. 

M Yang, Community pharmacist

Has anyone checked if Keith Ridge has a pulse? He could be a robot himself...*Cue Terminator theme*

martin gibson, Locum pharmacist

A robot?  Could explain his empathy with hub-and-spoke. 

Dilip Shah, Community pharmacist

Mr Ridges expresses frustration over reduced patient care, reduced efficiency in treating long term conditions, reduced admissions to A&E due to pharmacy intervention, reduced GP appointments due to intervention by pharmacist. Wow does he actually get pharmaceutical services in the community setting!

Please come and work in real time at our premises then you might just get the suffering of patients at all levels in the NHS today let alone after the cuts, Wake up andsee the reality,this does not happen from a desk job.

Please note that as population ages higher quality of personal and community services are needed not robots.Please visit elderly patients in care setting.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Good idea. He might also be unlucky to experience no staff and a bullying non caring area or store manager. It could be a Rx factory where there is no option but to self check. He'll be told by fax maybe that he must do 2 NMS and 2 MURs that day whilst manning the till. After this easy 10 hours shift. The owner/multiple could then withold payment for no reason for weeks or even months. Yes Dilip he should work in real time. After all patient safety mustn't be compromised.

Simon MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

frustration ! no -its anger and worry- nothing frustrating about not knowing if you can pay your mortgage, whether you have to sack staff who've been loyal and worked hard for years - only worry. So just summarise Keith  job, house, pension - not frustration.


London Locum, Locum pharmacist

I don't think your job, house and pension are uppermost in his mind I'm afraid. 

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

Simon......morgage? tell that to the miners...just because you have a morgage doesnt entitle you to a job for life....

Hackney Drug Dealer, Community pharmacist


you REALLY are on the wrong page. WDR come back when you know what you are talking about and stop trolling. This isnt facebook, you seem to have taken a wrong turn. Patient impact, particularly the elderly and less mobile will be likely to suffer.  

David Gallier-harris, Community pharmacist

Sami, a lot of your posts feel like trolling. Not really constructive. This whole topic is a highly emotive one for us pharmacists with huge changes in the offing for our profession. Please be constructive hey?

Simon MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

i agree, they got shafted by a conservative govt too. At least they got redundancy payments, the pharmacy industry including the sdtaff I employ will get sweet FA.

But why  compare us to the miners, why not compare me to google or boots, then I wouldn't have to pay  any tax and everything would be hunky dory.



Paul Dishman, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Wouldn't it be more sensible to look at pharmacy provision in an area and try and plan for the needs of the population, rather than the blunt instrument of a 6% cut and let the weakest go to the wall?

Brian Austen, Senior Management

They did this Paul; it was called a Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA). It became an exercise to strengthen control of entry. SK may be confrontational but he often talks sense about anti-competitiveness. If control of entry had been removed in 2003-2005 contractors would have already got over the coming pain. Prediction: If there is any compensation for closing contractors (which is not very likely) it will be inadequate in the eyes of the contractors and paid for by the remaining contractors. Prediction2 Further funding cuts will be designed to close down contractors to achieve the target savings for the whole NHS by 2020. It will happen. Prediction3: Purchasers/investors will finally realise in 2016 that pharmacies are overvalued!

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Number 3 is the most painful for contractors especially more recent purchasers.

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

better idea wud be to have cuts at 10% and re-open the market....

Meera Sharma, Community pharmacist

Same old, same old from Sami - as the post above said, you're a man with no claimed healthcare background and your only role on this forum is to antagonise pharmacists. Why are you even on this site??? As you say, you should be elsewhere as you see pharmacy as a complete waste of time. It doesn't matter what topic is being debated on, your comments and remarks are always the same. Pathetic.

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

I think Sami has said an another thread he is a part owner of a pharmacy and part locum. And earns 6 figures. !  

James Bryce, Superintendent

Frustration, really?

Frustration is what is felt when our football team doesn't win.

We don't feel frustration, the word is devastation, followed by anger.

Meanwhile, the government trumpets extra cash for the NHS, rank hypocrites

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

James.....the governemnt needs to save sibling is a GP...he only gets £75 per hr...He deserves alot more............cut pharmacy funding for GPs...thats a yes from me...

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

I agree Sami, Yes I know it is a hard job, but I think they are well paid. It's a kick in the teeth, that GPs (and probably JNR Drs) will get 4% more and we get 6% less. Even though we try to help take the pressure off them. Some locum pharmacists are earning 10 to 15 an hour. All because of the flooded market. Why isn't the Govt, encouraging Unis to open medical and nursing schools and capping schools of pharmacy? 


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