Amidst growing calls for adequate funding to rejuvenate community pharmacy in the country, thousands have signed a petition calling on the government to recompense community pharmacies for the extra costs they have incurred during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The latest petition by the people follows protests by National Pharmacy Association members in the parliamentary constituency of chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Over 88,600 people have now signed the petition, up from approximately 50,000 three weeks ago when NPA members began campaigning in the constituencies of the chancellor, the prime minister, the health secretary and other key ministers.
The petition, launched in December and backed by grassroots campaigning organisation 38 Degrees, highlights that many independent pharmacies are in deficit and calls on the government to keep its promises to support the sector.
NPA chair Andrew Lane said: “Recent campaigning by NPA members in key constituencies has given fresh impetus to the petition. Patients and citizens are taking the opportunity to have their say on a matter of great significance to their daily lives – the viability of their local pharmacies and the future of vital NHS services.”
The petition reads: “For months, pharmacy teams across the UK have been working without respite on the NHS frontline, playing a vital role in the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and helping reduce the pressure on GPs and A&Es.
“But the government hasn’t done enough to give community pharmacies the money they need to meet the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. A third of family-owned pharmacies in England are now in deficit and some have closed for good.
“Many more family-owned pharmacies in England could soon be forced to shut their doors unless the government acts.
“The first step is to let pharmacies keep the money they were given for the crippling extra costs of staying open during the pandemic. This money was spent by pharmacies to provide vital healthcare and the government must keep its promise to cover these extra costs.
“Community pharmacies are a local lifeline. They provide vital health and social care in communities across the country, including the most deprived neighbourhoods. Please support our local pharmacies – so they can continue to keep people well and save lives!.”