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#Fight4Pharmacies: IPA warns ‘there simply won’t be enough community pharmacies left to deliver PFS”

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95 per cent community pharmacies rely on the NHS to sustain,’ according to Fight4Pharmacies petition

“If the Government does not support community pharmacies with the relevant funding, then we will see a massive number of closures,” warns Dr. Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Independent Pharmacies Association (IPA).

The Fight4Pharmacies campaign, led by the IPA, is urging prime minister Rishi Sunak to address a critical £1.2 billion funding shortfall that threatens the survival of independent pharmacies across the UK.

This urgent plea comes as 1,000 community pharmacies have closed since 2019 due to rising operational costs and insufficient reimbursements.

On May 21, supporters of the Fight4Pharmacies campaign, along with 50 MPs including prominent figures like Priti Patel and Gavin Williamson, delivered a petition to Downing Street.

The petition, Prescription to Save Our Pharmacies outlines how independent community pharmacies can be supported to ensure smooth running of pharmacies.

It calls for increased funding to sustain community pharmacies, which rely on the NHS for 95 per cent of their income.

Additionally, it demands solutions for medicine shortages and fair reimbursement rates to prevent these essential healthcare providers from going under.

Dr. Hannbeck highlighted the severity of the situation: “If the Government does not support community pharmacies with the relevant funding, then we will see a massive number of closures, putting pressure on GPs and the Government’s flagship Pharmacy First service.”

“There simply won’t be enough community pharmacies left to deliver it,” she cautioned.

The Pharmacy First scheme, designed to alleviate GP workloads by allowing pharmacists to treat common conditions, is jeopardised by the funding crisis.

Independent pharmacies are crucial to this initiative, offering accessible healthcare to local communities.

Labour MP Grahame Morris, who met Hannbeck at the campaign emphasised the need for immediate action.

He shared his thoughts on the enormous financial pressures faced by majority of independent pharmacies on social media X, demanding that the government addresses the £1.2 billion shortfall in pharmacy funding and tackles the medicine shortages.

Additionally, he urged them to reform government contracts with community pharmacies.

Recent reports have highlighted a record number of community pharmacy closures in England.

More than 400 local chemists have closed in five years, leading to 2.5 million more GP appointments and exacerbating the strain on already stretched GP surgeries.

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