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Sector's shock at Burt's suggestion of 3,000 closures

John Nuttall: Growth for Well will be difficult because of cuts

Pharmacy representatives, including Well chief executive John Nuttall, warn that funding cuts will lead to mass unemployment in the sector


The sector has accused the government of conducting a “dangerous experiment” after the pharmacy minister admitted more than a quarter of pharmacies could close because of funding cuts.

Alistair Burt is braced for between 1,000 and 3,000 pharmacies in England to close as a result of the 6% cut to the global sum scheduled for October, according to an all-party pharmacy group (APPG) report on its meeting with the minister earlier this month.

Pharmacy bodies and C+D readers warned that such closures could lead to mass unemployment in the sector.

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) told C+D that patients will be the “biggest losers” from the government’s “jumble of ideas”. “We have yet to see evidence that there are too many pharmacies, nor any proper assessment of what the consequences of closures would be,” NPA chair Ian Strachan said.

Well chief executive John Nuttall said the “massive reduction” in pharmacy numbers would lead to thousands of pharmacists becoming unemployed and reduce patients’ access to valuable services.

“People like Alistair Burt don’t look at the coalface, how pharmacists are going the extra mile. [Well] is in this for the long-term – we have an ambition to grow, but it is clearly going to be difficult,” he told C+D.

"Blunt, ruthless, and crude"

Community pharmacist Clive Hodgson slammed the government’s “blunt, crude, and ruthless approach” to funding cuts.

Community pharmacist Simon Medley said the government has shown its “true colours”. “Three thousand pharmacies, that’s at least 12,000 jobs – hardworking people thrown on the scrapheap. How much is that going to cost the country in income support, housing benefit and increased use of the NHS for depression?” he posted on the C+D website.

The Department of Health said that Mr Burt’s comments at the private meeting had been speculative.

It is not the government's intention to try to close pharmacies, but to encourage community pharmacists to play a greater role in other primary care settings, it said,

Read our insider's view of the meeting from Paula Sherriff MP here.


What effect will the cuts have on your business?

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


Ari Butt, Community pharmacist

United we stand , Divided we fall ! Enough said ! 

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

United we never stood, divided we have fell

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

The Tabloid style of "reporting" does not reflect well on the profession. Sadly, like most things in Pharmacy the money masters call the shots. Advertising pays for the magazine and we all know who places in C&D. One particular stark example was the abject lack of reporting on the recent Nurofen issue. Said it all to me. A very sad fact indeed.

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Yes, looking back, the reporting on the Nurofen scandal was, let us say, rather bare.

Chris ., Community pharmacist

But surely John Nuttall's words have not been mis-reported????

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Please C and D, can you at least try and attempt even a small degree of accuracy in the representation of readers comments? Many readers described their complete lack of surprise in these 'revelations'. Many pointed out how predictable this all was, claiming for origins over a decade old. Many pharmacists (employees) described the job losses and pay cuts they had already suffered and how they had mentally accepted this fate many years ago.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

The interests of C&D do not lie with the individual pharmacists. They stand shoulder to shoulder with the multiples, frequently presenting adverts thinly veiled as articles of interest.

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Nothing wrong in being contractor centric, most publications have some form of bias. But the failure to represent the dispensary floor views of contrarian employees/locums is noticeable by its near absence. 

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