Thousands of chemists in England’s poorest areas face closure under Government plans

THOUSANDS of High Street chemists in the poorest areas of England face closure under Government plans. Poorest to suffer as thousands of chemists face closure under Government plans
As many as 3,000 community pharmacies are at risk after the Department of Health announced it was slashing their funding by £170million. The Government says the cuts are justified because there are “more pharmacies than necessary” in some areas, leading to a “clustering” of High Street chemists.

But new analysis by the National Pharmacy Association has revealed that 40 per cent of those under threat are found in the UK’s top fifth most deprived neighbourhoods. In comparison, less than five per cent of those at risk are in the country’s most affluent postcodes.

Last night campaigners warned that the proposed cuts would make health inequalities even worse, hurting vulnerable patients and the elderly most.

NPA chairman Ian Strachan said: “Currently the more vulnerable a neighbourhood is, the better the access to primary care through pharmacies.

“Many pharmacies most at risk by the Government’s plans are in highly deprived areas, so the cuts would hit hardest those communities least able to bear it.”He added: “Pharmacies have a long track record of supporting vulnerable patients and deprived populations. Sometimes we are the only health care facility in a neighbourhood. In such instances people rely on their pharmacy for first line social care as well as their health and pharmaceutical needs.Part of the role pharmacies fulfil is to help elderly and infirm people live independently in their own homes.

“Tragically, it’s services like home deliveries and other support for independent living that could be the first to go.

“In some places, the High Street would become unviable if the neighbourhood pharmacy disappeared. All that would be left is the bookie and the chippie.”

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