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Norfolk likely to lose four more pharmacies including a Boots store next year

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The county in the East of England has seen closure of six pharmacies in recent months

Boots is reportedly closing another branch in Watton, Norfolk from January, after shutting its High Street branch in Gorleston last month.

The Boots store would be one of the four pharmacies expected to be closed next year in the county, which saw closures of six pharmacies in recent months, according to a BBC report.

However, the retailer hasn’t made any announcement regarding the Watton closure or commented on its decision to shut its Gorleston branch.

If the Boots’ branch in Watton is closed, the town will be left with only one pharmacy to cater to the healthcare needs of a population of about 12,000, and this is the concern people in the area have expressed.

Conservative councillor Tina Kiddell told BBC: “I do worry how they are going to cope, they’re already incredibly overwhelmed now.”

The public are urged to use their pharmacists more for minor ailments to relieve pressure on the GP service, but the closure would increase more pressure on doctor’s surgeries again, she said.

Speaking to the publication, Tony Dean, from Community Pharmacy Norfolk, described the closure as “a terrible situation of funding and workforce.”

Further, he informed that 95 per cent of a typical pharmacy’s turnover is dependent on NHS income and that the government set “what we get paid for that.”

The number of pharmacies in England has fallen by more than 1,000 since 2015, and this has affected deprived communities in the country the most, according to the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA).

With an average of eight pharmacies closed per week, altogether 338 pharmacies were closed this year in England, the CCA said.

Between 2015 and June 2023, the country lost 1,008 pharmacies, with maximum closures happening occurring in Indices of Multiple Deprivation deciles 1 and 2.

CCA Chief Executive Malcolm Harrison said “a toxic mix of funding, workforce, and workload pressures” is restricting pharmacies from delivering what the government wants them to deliver.

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