Community pharmacies claim they are ‘on the brink of bankruptcy’
PUBLISHED: 05:30 16 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:31 18 June 2020
A community pharmacy in Leiston has joined a national fight to save pharmacies across the UK - amid reports a lack of funding leaves them operating at a loss.
Mr Cephas Asiamah, the superintendent pharmacist at the Leiston practice, has spoken up about the importance of the petition, which already has over 15,000 signatures.
“We the pharmacy are not under threat ourselves right now,” he said. “But you never know what might happen in the future and there are pharmacies at risk across the country.”
Numark, the buying group for Leiston Pharmacy, launched the campaign on June 4, as well as releasing an open letter from managing director Jeremy Meader.
However, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) says it has reduced the services pharmacies are expected to deliver and maintained their full funding, to help them during the coronavirus crisis.
He wrote: “Community pharmacies and their teams have been faced with unprecedented challenges in dealing with the outbreak of Covid-19.
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“Pharmacy has proven itself to be an invaluable resource on the front line of healthcare, providing lifesaving prescription services, support, advice and reassurance to patients and their families when they need it most.”
Mr Meader claims the government has removed over £200million of funding during the last four years through austerity measures.
The sector is under significant financial pressure and over half of all pharmacies in England have reported they are operating at a loss – leaving them open to the risk of closure at a time of great need.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “Pharmacy teams are doing an incredible job on the frontline providing vital medicines and advice to people when they need it most.
“To support pharmacies during these unprecedented times, we have reduced the services they are expected to deliver, maintained their full funding, provided £350 million in extra advanced payments to aid cash flow and fully funded the extra services we have commissioned.”
Mr Asiamah and his staff at Leiston pharmacy are adding stickers to each of their prescription bags spreading awareness about the campaign.
Mr Meader added: “The consequences of pharmacy closures would be unimaginable and we want to ensure this doesn’t happen, but we can’t do it alone, we need your help.”
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