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Farron in Commons plea for protection for Cumbria's Pharmacies

November 3, 2016 4:00 PM

South Lakeland MP Tim Farron has spoken out in parliament against cuts to Cumbria's community pharmacies. Figures reveal that fewer than one in five pharmacies will qualify for a new rural payment bonus. A government funding decision last month will see funding slashed by more than 7% over the next two years.

The government's claim that rural pharmacies will be shielded from the cuts due to a new rural access bonus payment has been blown away by figures showing that even in Cumbria, only 20 of 110 pharmacies will be eligible for the payment. In Tim's constituency, just 5 pharmacies out of 23 will qualify for the extra cash.

Speaking in parliament yesterday, Tim said "in what is probably England's most rural county, more than 80% of pharmacies do not qualify for the rural pharmacy access scheme, and for those that do, that money will be blown away by the larger cuts. Given that staff are already being laid off… one of the greatest areas of damage will be to small, rural pharmacies in areas such as ours."

Tim recently wrote to all pharmacies in the constituency, and local pharmacists have responded setting out their grave concerns about the impact of the government's plans.

Commenting on the cuts, Tim said: "The government's proposals are ill thought-through and will hit rural areas like ours the hardest. Pharmacies provide a range of services to their communities and play a key role in preventing illness. If pharmacies are forced to close by these cuts, it is the NHS that will be left to pick up the tab. The government should reconsider these proposals."