We recently announced that our local Lloyd’s Pharmacy on Sandy Park Road would be closing permanently at the end of October, 2020. Many people got in touch with us to see if anything could be done. Jos initially contacted the pharmacy chain to see if there was any chance they might reverse their decision. She also spoke to the local GP practice and the Avon Pharmaceutical Service Negotiating Committee. What she discovered was quite concerning.
Many local pharmacies are likely to close down.
Jos said, ‘Brislington is unlikely to be the only place about to lose its local pharmacy. Communities across the city will have to face the possibility that their local pharmacy will be next on the list, which is a very worrying trend, especially for the most vulnerable people in our community’. Andrew added, ‘A pharmacy which is able to deliver dosset boxes to patients at home on a regular basis is so important and the loss of the only pharmacy in the area which offers this service has quite rightly left people feeling worried and vulnerable’. So why are so many local pharmacies at risk?
The vast majority of pharmacies across the country are primarily funded by the NHS with very little revenue generated from sales or services. Unfortunately, cuts in funding that began in 2016 are now beginning to have a significant impact and many pharmacies are on the brink of closure. This is purely because their core NHS funding no longer covers their operating costs and these businesses are now loss-making.
Furthermore, the advice and support offered to patients by pharmacies attracts no additional funding as the NHS considers this to be part of a pharmacy’s core service. Moreover, these important consultations, which can be quite time-consuming and labour-intensive, do not necessarily involve the sale of a medicine. In essence this means the patient support is ‘free’ to the NHS and pharmacies are really struggling as a result.
It is important that pharmacies continue to be accessible ‘health centres’ in the heart of their communities, but the Government has to recognise that for pharmacies to offer this type of support, the funding must go with it. Otherwise, sadly, we are only going to see more and more pharmacies shutting up shop.