Layer 1

Record-breaking cuts petition delivered to Downing Street

The petition against the pharmacy cuts was delivered to the Prime Minister by MPs, patients and NPA members

1.8 million people have signed the petition against the government's proposed pharmacy cuts

Politicians, pharmacists and patients met in Westminster yesterday afternoon (May 24) to deliver a petition protesting against the impending pharmacy cuts to Prime Minister David Cameron.

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) petition was signed by 1.8 million people, which the organisation hailed as the “biggest healthcare petition ever”.

Chair of the all-party pharmacy group Sir Kevin Barron MP and Labour MP Michael Dugher delivered the petition to 10 Downing Street, alongside Conservative MP Derek Thomas and Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb.

A cross-party campaign

MP Michael Dugher told C+D he was hopeful the government would take notice of the petition, timed to coincide with the last day of a consultation into the cuts.

“The fact it is the biggest healthcare petition in history has got to count for something,” he said. “The industry has run a good cross party campaign to mobilise almost every community in the country.”

Mr Dugher also called for Conservative MPs to do more, because the impact of the pharmacy cuts would be “every bit as real” for them and “they ought to make the voice of their constituents heard loud and clear”. 

Sir Kevin said he hoped the petition would be “a message to Number 10 and a message to the government that people are concerned about what could happen to their community pharmacy”.

“This will hopefully mean the outcome of [the funding consultation] won’t be as bad as some people are predicting,” he said.

Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott said such a popular petition “would make [the government] think again about what they’re planning to do”.

“The understanding [among MPs] of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it is growing,” Mr Darracott said. “There is a degree of support from all parties taking this issue seriously.”

Signatures still coming in

NPA head of corporate affairs Gareth Jones told C+D that the organisation was “delighted” with the support the petition had been given.

“We’ve got signatures still coming in – it shows how engaged the sector is with this campaign and how much support we have from the public,” he said.

“This is an attack on pharmacies and the public in socially deprived areas – while these proposals are still out the campaign goes on," he added.


What should be the sector's plan of action next?

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information


Anonymous Anonymous, Information Technology

Save the paper and your time! Pharmacy is the laughing stock of healthcare. Such a petty profession that will soon be confined to the annals of history... Bye bye!

Anonymous Anonymous, Information Technology

*This comment has been deleted for breaching C+D's community principles*

Yuna Mason, Sales

Despite the work done in getting the signatures, the government has not offered a full debate in parliament. In full awareness of the 1.8m signatures being presented earlier in the day, Alistair Burt was uncompromising yesterday in the adjournment debate (which is basically one minister speaking for 15 minutes). He made loads of arguments which break down entirely on scrutiny.

If they're not going to offer that debate now, the sector needs to use the technical and official mechanism at its disposal to make sure it does happen.

I'm repeating myself but the next step is for the sector to get the official gov petition over the line. 2 or 3 LPCs working on it would do it. At the same time and in light of their comments, the PSNC need to think about going to a judicial review.

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

 Why would it go to JR if the cuts lead to the multiples baing gifted local monopolies across England ?


It is Independents that need to get together and challenge the distribution of the Global Sum and the huge excess profits that are being diverted to the vertically integrated multiples.


See the full interview with Mark from the PDA about the nuances. Lets hope we get  to see the full printed and video interview. Come on C&D, lets see it soon.

Yuna Mason, Sales

Exactly Harry. Was hoping someone would make that point. Major wholesalers I think stand to benefit from the cuts because the number of NHS items will go up, but if the independents close, they have less pharmacies to deliver to and therefore less cost. Also, it will mean less independents to give discount to, whilst the discount given to a vertically integrated multiple pharmacy simply transfers money from one subsidiary company to another. That seemingly limits the PSNC's incentive to go for a JR. They have to bark, but would they ever bite? 

Simon MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

I believe the cuts will go ahead, but we've got to look further forward than the £170 million- and draw a line in the sand to prevent any further damage to the pharmacy network


Dave Downham, Manager

I agree re the inevitability, as we know the government never u-turns. However, we should still make as much noise as we can to make it harder for further cuts that are probably slated. We need to show some backbone and not doff our hats as other bodies seem to be going.

Yuna Mason, Sales

If the sector accepts them, what should it do the next time cuts are on the table, with 3,000 fewer independent pharmacies to fight the battle? Protest for a while then move on again?

Dave Downham, Manager

What happens to all that paper?

Paul Samuels, Community pharmacist

Same as everything else---waste of time & effort.

Problem is multiples will not support any actions which will loosen their stranglehold on the services currently offered--that combined with vertically integrated contractors can well afford the extra pressure exerted on them as their margins are far in excess of individual or even small groups.

Paper will go in bin marked "rubbish"

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

You should tell that to PM. He seems to think his enemy are Locums and employee pharmacists. Whilst he's busy fighting them perhasps he is unaware Multiples are busily shafting him into oblivion.

cummunity pharmacist, Pharmacy




It has been made clear by ministers and civil servants that the proposed £170m funding cut is not negotiable, and we have faced a rejection of our proposals for alternative means of achieving savings. There has been no rationale for this and the apparent lack of consideration of the implications of other issues raised in the letter, which we have identified, must call into question the basis for the decision that this cut should be made. At the least, it has been made without any discernible sound assessment of the consequences



Job of the week

Support Pharmacist
Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Heartl
up to £47,500 dependent on hours (30-40 hours flexible)