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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

The hon. Gentleman talks of efficiencies; he will presumably have seen the research that says if people cannot get to a pharmacy one in four will go to a GP. We will see greater demand on GP surgeries and A&E departments. That is not efficient. It is a false economy, which is why the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has said the proposals are

“founded on ignorance of the value of pharmacies to local communities, to the NHS, and to social care, and will do great damage to all three. We cannot accept them.”

It is why the chief executive of Pharmacy Voice described the decision as

“incoherent, self-defeating and wholly unacceptable”,

and it is why charities such as Age UK have said the plans are

“out of step with messages encouraging people to make more use of their community pharmacists, to relieve pressure on overstretched A&E departments and GP surgeries.”

Age UK has hit the nail on the head: these cuts to community pharmacies completely contradict everything we have been told by Ministers over recent years and will lead to increased pressures and increased demands on GP surgeries and A&E departments.