Dugher welcomes hold on pharmacy budget cut
The Government was due to impose a six per cent budget cut on the budget for pharmacies next month but Community Health Minister David Mowat has announced the move will be delayed.
Mr Dugher, one of the leading figures in the campaign against the funding cut, said: “It is welcome news that the Government appear at last to be listening to all of us who’ve been campaigning against the arbitrary cut to community pharmacies and that they are now delaying this decision.
“We know that the proposed £170 million cut could force up to 3,000 local chemists – a quarter of all those in the country – to close down. We also know that this cut is a false economy. It is not only damaging to patients’ access to prescription medicine, but it will impact on public health and will increase pressure on our already overstretched GP surgeries and hospitals.
“Community pharmacies are vital to so many people in so many parts of the country and they save the NHS money. The Government’s delay must now lead to a fundamental re-think so we protect our community pharmacies.”
Mr Mowat confirmed the delay at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s annual conference.
The minister said it was “right that we spend the time, particularly me as an incoming Minister, taking time to make sure we are making the correct decision, and that what we do is going to be right for you, right for the NHS and right for the public”.
The Government originally proposed the cut as part of a wider plan to streamline the pharmacy system arguing in some areas they were clustered together within a few minutes walk.