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Community Pharmacies

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:11 pm on 2nd November 2016.

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Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Health) 3:11 pm, 2nd November 2016

Absolutely. It is the arbitrary impact of the cut that concerns me so much.

The other aspect of that arbitrariness is—again, a point made by the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire—that the big boys will be fine. They will survive. Surely, the Government should be addressing the excess profits of those organisations, rather than putting in danger—as their own impact assessment says—the small independent pharmacies and small chains. It is completely irrational and makes no sense.

The final issue I want to raise is that, instead of going about cutting preventive care, protecting the big boys and putting small pharmacies at risk, the Government ought to be undertaking a major programme to increase what pharmacies do. We heard earlier about what is happening in Scotland; that is the approach that should be taken. There should be more work on smoking cessation, on sexual health, on substance misuse and on screening and immunisation, and more should be done to promote independent living, encourage healthy lifestyles and support people in their self-care.

The Government’s approach makes no sense. The bottom line is that, as the Government scrape around trying to find enough resources to prop up the NHS, which, as we know, is expecting to receive a reducing percentage of our national income between now and 2020, they are making stupid decisions such as cutting spending on health education, on public health and on community pharmacies. The Government are in a complete mess. We need extra resources for the NHS and a new long-term settlement. The sooner the Government recognise that, the better.