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Why London pharmacies are in firing line for funding cuts

London Assembly member Murad Qureshi (second from left): Hopes sympathy for rural pharmacies isn’t at expense of urban areas

The planned 6% cut could be focused on pharmacies in the capital and other urban areas, say Pharmacy London and a local politician

Pharmacies in the capital could be at higher risk of being "wiped out" by the government’s planned funding cut, Pharmacy London has warned.

People assume the government is going to "look after" smaller and more isolated pharmacies, chief executive Rekha Shah told C+D yesterday (May 3). But judging the distances between pharmacies in rural areas is “totally different to [in] urban areas”, she stressed.

The government has stated its aim to remove funding from pharmacies that exist in a "cluster", but Ms Shah said “clusters are needed in London because of what they offer". "They tailor their services to meet the diverse cultural and language needs that we have in the capital."

Health inequalities in London

Ms Shah said the government has not addressed the health inequalities or multiculturalism in London through its planned pharmacy access scheme.

"If you were a cynic, you would say it's [the attitude of] a Conservative government, and their strongholds are the rural areas. If they plan [to protect rural pharmacies], it won't be just 25% [that close] in London, it is bound to be more," she added.

Labour London Assembly member Murad Qureshi, who visited Market Pharmacy in central London with Ms Shah last month, said he plans to speak to London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan about the affect the cuts could have on the capital.

“The Prime Minister has expressed sympathy towards rural pharmacies, but I hope it isn’t at the expense of urban pharmacies we depend on,” Mr Qureshi told C+D. “Some of them are clustered centrally, but that shouldn’t make [the government] think they aren’t valuable.”

Unique needs of urban communities

Pharmacy Voice said that, while the government's commitment to protect rural pharmacies is good news, it has remained silent on those operating in some of the most vulnerable urban communities.

“London in particular appears most at risk from the seemingly unsophisticated approach to 'clustering',” a Pharmacy Voice spokesperson said. “The government's proposals fail to account for the unique needs of modern urban communities.”

How will the cuts affect pharmacies in your area?

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Pharmacy HLP, Manager

HEY GUYS DONT FIGHT EACH OTHER , YOU WOULD NOT BEHAVE LIKE THAT ORDINARILY . This is  normal tactic to get people to throw stones at each other then turn up with a solution to your self inflicted injuries ( for a small price. ).

Do you want pharmacy to be relevant in peoples lives and do you want the profession to grow and flourish, if so  give some positive points for future direction, who cant find fault in a stupid complex system that we never had any say into how it was set up.

Nat Mitchell, Community pharmacist


Our pharmacy is in the country, has direct competition and I'm not white. I think the impending cuts will affect us all and their implementation is so random that I don't think that specific areas will be targeted. 


Mr Pharmacist!, Pharmaceutical Adviser

If Ms Shah bothered reading the background documents released by Government, she would see that the government will not "close down" or limit clusters, they will make them unviable by introducing a Single Activity Fee (SAF), to replace almost all the current fees available (e.g. Practice, EPS, Expensive Item etc).  The governments aim is to reward high dispensing facilities with a scaled up higher fee than lower dispensing ones. The government is quite clear they do not want to subsidise low dispensing contracts and they want to reward higher dispensing contracts.  In fact from the way things look high dispensing contracts may at worst generate the same income and at best generate even more income.  As with any scale system, there will be losers, and those will be lower dispensing contracts who will attract a lower SAF, and coupled with removal of allowances and other subsidising fees, will make the businesses unprofitable and lead to the desired objective of closure.  Now most of those "clustered" pharmacies can fight this by merging but the fragmented nature of the landscape and poor local leadership will mean this will not happen.  Ms Shah should focus her efforts on pushing for  geographic-centric mergers, any other strategy is hopeless.  Furthermore, this landscape shift will probably lead to disbanding of silly groups like LPC's who have no clout whatsoever.  They are the product of a decade long labour administration that allowed these pop-up characters to self-proclaim leadership, whilst all the while they were useless in ever delivering anything of substance.  In my humble opinion the quicker these characters and organisations die, the better.  We must all accept and embrace the change rather than fight it.  Obviously there will be loser, but there will also be some serious winners.

Mr Pharmacist!, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Ms Shah said the government has not addressed the health inequalities or multiculturalism in London through its planned pharmacy access scheme.  - Who cares about multiculturalism in London!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Get a life!  Soon as we get a brexit, hopefully that will means british jobs for british people.  Along with that will come pricing power for employees and thwart these blood sucking businesses who regularly abuse the work force in the name of free market economics.

M Elnemy, Non healthcare professional

HERE HERE.........mass immigration favours the big corperations as its a cheap souce of labour............bring back democracy.............

You here the same Crap from londonERs who want higher wages/benefits as london is expensive...why should the tax payer fund ppl to live in london!!!! makes me maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad GRRRRRRRRRRRRR



A Hussain, Senior Management

How has this story resulted in the comments above? Crazy

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

Read it again Mr Hussain and then go away look up what the words 'urban' and 'rural' are often substituted for. Conservative stronghold I'm sure is a little more obvious to you. More curious than crazy Mr Hussain. And if 'crazy' as you insist,  that needs to be directed at Ms Shah who has made these comments regarding her views on these impending cuts.


Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Mr Hussain does not do subtly nor 'big words'. Guess what 'central London' and the 'Tory Shires' are euphemisms for? Then extrapolate what is being implied regarding the  natural inclination of the Tory party ( and by association its members or voters)? 

A Hussain, Senior Management

I was remarking on the absurdity of this article being made out to be about race.  Cities are more likely to have clusters of pharmacies in competition with each other.  They are therefore at greater risk of closure due to cuts.  Rural pharmacies often face less competition, but have a smaller population to serve.  But it's not down to ethnicity.  So when I try to unscramble your random collection of big words, I think we are actually on the same side here.  Or was I too subtle for you?

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

'Urban' is a nice word usually substituted for black or brown in other industries such as media or music.  'Rural' is sometimes code for white I believe. These labels now being used in Pharmacy it would seem.  At least they're moving with the times I suppose.

Alan WHITEMANN, Communications

Oh please Ms Chauhan .  What are you drivvling on about?

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

What planet do you inhabit? I'd love to visit sometime.

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Yes, the weasel words of liberal bigots who wish to slur somebody without risking a case of defamation. Anybody wish to make the case for this implied racism or too cowardly as usual? 

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

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

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Spot on, yes they are. Dodgy Dave gave the game away when he stated that pharmacies are not front-line services. The government wants to kill the NHS off with a death of a thousand cuts. Small pharmacies provide a lot of valuable support to patients. The Treasury wants large mega pharmacies. Did C&D ever find out why Pharmacy2U was given a large governement loan?

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

Steven Pound, MP for Ealing in the Parliamentary debate about these cuts specifically mentioned that urban pharmacies are essential at a high density due to many patients not being able to access GP services and because of London demographics. Too complex an area to go into here.


I believe that there has ALWAYS been an agenda against many of these small, ethnically operated London pharmacies. Its been a long standing and vindictive agenda initiated by some persons who were powerful at that time but are not directly so (but still carry influence indirectly).

M Elnemy, Non healthcare professional

If in doubt play the race card   LOL  Grow up.....

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Modus operandi in England: anybody who provides a reasoned argument regarding the limitations of multiculturalism -  assumed racist. Of course the irony being that only the most degenerate and backward care the slightest about the racial composition of anything. The civilised amongst of us will talk of values, sensibilities and loyalties. So as a proud Burkean Conservative am I a racist pharmacist? I will be happy to take on any 'liberal' bigots who have the backbone to debate me on this point. Or as usual too cowardly to take on anybody who you suspect has the education to humiliate you on your fatuousness? 


Pill Counter, Pharmacy

You seem to be inferring that there is a racist agenda at play. Is this what you are saying?

Alan WHITEMANN, Communications

Trust you to make it into a race thing when it clearly isn't!!!  

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

Read the article agan and you'll find no quotes are attributed to me

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