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Health minister has turned his back on local community pharmacies - MP

March 29, 2018 5:28 PM

Tim with Simon ButterworthLocal MP Tim Farron has hit out at the Government after they refused to intervene to help save under-threat local community pharmacies.

Many community pharmacies in the South Lakes are in danger of going out of business because of reductions in payments for prescriptions by NHS England.

Often, the money pharmacies receive from the NHS doesn't even cover the cost of the drugs being dispensed.

Last November, Collins and Butterworth in Hawkshead received £5000 less in NHS payments than their total drug cost for the month, and the money the pharmacy has received from the NHS has dropped by 20% over the past two years.

Tim tabled a motion in Parliament earlier this year calling for the creation of an 'Essential Community Pharmacy Scheme' so that independent pharmacies get funding upfront, protecting them from the costs wholesalers charge.

But in a letter to Tim, the minister responsible for pharmacies, Steve Brine, ruled out introducing new measure to help struggling rural pharmacies, instead saying that most of the population were within a "20-minute walk of a community pharmacy".

Tim said: "The Government's point-blank refusal to help our local pharmacies is incredibly frustrating and the claim that most people are just a 20-minute walk from their nearest pharmacy just goes to show the little understanding they have of rural communities like ours.

"By ignoring the plight of our local pharmacies, the Government are putting at risk a vital service that plays such an important role in helping the most vulnerable in our towns and villages."