Hundreds of community pharmacies “could close” as the cost of medicines and energy prices are rising and they do not “have funding to stay afloat.”
Community pharmacies who in 2019 signed a five year contract with NHS England and the government to fund them is not fit for purpose as they are finding it increasingly difficult to pay their bills.
Sky News reported that Amish Patel who is a community pharmacist said, “In 2020 my pharmacy made the first ever loss in its business profits, which for a pharmacy that’s established in 1985, we’ve got no loans in our business, it’s really worrying.
“That year, we made a decision to invest in private services, and that’s kept us going.
“But the forecast has now shown that in the next two, three years, I’m going to make continual losses, unless the government does something drastic to increase our funding we’ll be out of business.”
Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies warned, “We’ve been left with a contract that doesn’t take into account any inflation or any cost of living.
“Pharmacies are under a lot of pressure at the moment, all pharmacies are.
“The cost of medicines is rising, they simply do not have the funding to keep them afloat.”
She added that with pharmacies closing this will put more pressure on GPs and hospitals who are already struggling to cope.
She warned, “After a local pharmacy closes, you won’t be able to get the accessible service.
“You’re going to have to travel further, or you can put more pressure on the NHS if nothing gets done about it
“It’s mainly the elderly and the vulnerable and those in areas of deprivation that are going to be suffering.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Community pharmacies play a vital role in our health care system, and we back them with £2.6bn a year.
“On top of this, we have announced a further £100m investment in the sector to help support services.
“Around 80% of the population live within a 20-minute walk of a pharmacy, and there are twice as many pharmacies in the more deprived areas.”