Pressure to hit other health services if pharmacies close: UK

NPA members at Support Your Pharmacies event

The UK’s National Pharmacy Association has quantified the pressure that could be placed on other health services under the planned cuts to English pharmacy.

The 6% funding cuts are likely to see between 1000 and 3000 English pharmacies close, the UK’s chief pharmaceutical officer is on record as saying. NPA chairman Ian Strachan outlined the likely effects of the cuts at last week’s APP2016 conference.

The research, based on a survey of 2000 people, shows that two in five people would go to their GP if it became more difficult to access their local pharmacy for the treatment of common conditions.

And more than a million people nationwide would go to Accident and Emergency or other urgent care, the research found.

The research also shows that two in three people use a pharmacy at least once a month and that 36% of the adult population has received advice on how to get best use of their medicines in the past six months.

Most pharmacists offer confidential advice in a consulting room and 28% of the people surveyed said they had received such advice.

“The research confirms how much people really value the face-to-face advice they get at local pharmacies,” Strachan says.

“It also shows that if you reduce people’s access to such advice, that simply puts extra pressure on GPs and hospitals, which are already stretched.

“The Department of Health says it wants efficiencies, yet its plans for pharmacy would build inefficiencies into the system.”

A campaign petition has already gathered 200,000 signatures from concerned patients. The petition urges the Prime Minister and Health Secretary to abandon plans that put pharmacy services at risk.

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee is now urging pharmacy contractors to get involved with the Support Your Local Pharmacy campaign.

They are encouraged to tweet examples of the care they are giving in the community, ask patients to sign the petition or take part in a local media interview.

A second @WePharmacists ’24 hours in pharmacy’ Twitter event, using the hashtag #pharmacy24, is planned for tomorrow.

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