Pharmacies - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:07 pm on 20th July 2020.

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Photo of Lord Grade of Yarmouth Lord Grade of Yarmouth Chair, Gambling Industry Committee, Chair, Gambling Industry Committee 1:07 pm, 20th July 2020

I am grateful to my noble friend the Minister for that response but, as I am sure the whole House will agree, independent pharmacies in so many small towns such as Yarmouth and places such as the Isle of Wight are now the heroic first line of defence for GPs and the NHS. The most vulnerable in these communities depend on them for medical advice and deliveries of vital prescriptions, which they offer for free. In my view, it is totally unrealistic for the department to point to some recent funding help as if that has solved the problem. It is nowhere near enough to keep the pharmacies in business, let alone to allow the pharmacists to have a day off or even earn a living. It just demonstrates that the department fails to understand why independent pharmacists are still in such grave peril. May I please urge my noble friend to meet a delegation of these front-line heroes, to hear directly why their businesses continue to hang by a thread? When they fold, they will not be replaced.