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Community Pharmacies

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:55 pm on 2nd November 2016.

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Photo of Jon Ashworth Jon Ashworth Shadow Secretary of State for Health 12:55 pm, 2nd November 2016

I should like to make a bit of progress, if I may. As I said earlier, I am extremely conscious that other Members wish to speak.

As we have heard, the former Health Minister said that 3,000 community pharmacies could close. When pressed about the figures last month, the current Minister said

“no community will be left without a pharmacy.”—[Official Report, 17 October 2016;
Vol. 615.]

I hope he will confirm that he still stands by that statement. He also claimed:

“Nobody is talking about thousands of pharmacies closing”. —[Official Report, 17 October 2016;
Vol. 615, c. 602-3.]

He obviously did not receive the memo from the right hon. Member for North East Bedfordshire. But what did he say when he was pressed by my hon. Friend Barbara Keeley about the number of closures? What soothing, reassuring words did he offer to all our constituents? He said, “I do not know.”

I am sorry that the Minister has not got a clue, but I hope that when he winds up the debate he will be able to tell us how many pharmacies will close as a result of these cuts. If he is not prepared to tell us that, will he tell us how many services will be cut?