…By Henry George for TDPel Media.
Industry leaders have warned that more pharmacies will be forced to close unless the government provides urgently needed funding to the struggling sector.
Healthcare providers are waiting for government proposals to improve access to primary care, which are expected to be announced on Tuesday.
Leyla Hannbeck, CEO of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, says workforce challenges have led to many pharmacies shutting their doors “for good” since 2015, when the sector faced a “big” funding cut.
She warns that unless the government provides funding, many more will close this year.
Ms Hannbeck cites a £1.1bn shortfall in funding every year, resulting in many pharmacies operating at a loss and struggling to pay medicine wholesalers’ bills.
Thorrun Govind, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in England, adds that increased staffing, energy and drug costs are some of the issues the sector is facing.
Pharmacies in England would like to do much more, but are often hindered by the system in which they work, she says.
They could provide regular support for patients with long-term conditions and help people with common ailments, such as coughs, colds, flus and sore throats, which would ease the burden on GPs.
Ms Govind adds that increased funding for pharmacies would improve staff retention, which is currently at risk of “burnout,” and tackle health inequalities.
She also notes that pharmacists are really accessible, typically a 20-minute walk for most people, and the staff there tend to be from the communities where they are working, which is important in tackling health inequalities.
In summary, industry leaders are warning that more pharmacies will close without urgently needed funding from the government.
Leyla Hannbeck cites a £1.1bn shortfall in funding every year, causing many pharmacies to operate at a loss and struggle to pay medicine wholesalers’ bills.
Thorrun Govind notes that pharmacies could do much more, providing regular support for patients with long-term conditions and helping people with common ailments. Increased funding would improve staff retention and tackle health inequalities.