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Portsmouth loses 20% of its pharmacies in five years

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Coastal communities like Portsmouth, Bristol and Brighton likely to see more pharmacy closures 

More and more pharmacies are closing in Portsmouth due to staff shortages, funding and rising costs.

The city has lost about 20 per cent of its pharmacies in the past five years, falling to 32 from 41, according to figures revealed by BBC News.

Portsmouth City Council hosted the first pharmacy summit to address the rising number of closures in the area, wherein NHS leaders and industry professionals discussed the challenges faced locally.

Dr Raj Laly, director of Laly’s Pharmacy, pointed out funding cuts as partly responsible for the closures.

He told BBC News: “It’s at a time when the demand for what pharmacies are required to do has increased, so it’s been very difficult for groups to survive.

“That’s why you’re seeing lots of closures happening at this time.”

The Council’s cabinet member for health, Matthew Winnington expressed concern that coastal communities like Portsmouth, Bristol and Brighton were more likely to see pharmacy closures, and people would be “stuck” without their pharmacist.

Lloyds Pharmacy, which is the UK’s second-largest chain after Boots, has also closed and sold all its pharmacies in Wales over “growing pressures” faced by the pharmacy sector.

Figures obtained by StatsWales on 27 October confirmed that the number of community pharmacies in Wales came down to 698 from 716 in 2018-19.

Earlier this year, BBC analysis had reported the loss of 160 pharmacies in England over the past two years.

The number of pharmacies stood at almost 12,000 in 2017-18, according to Statista.

The Pharmaceutical Journal reported a net loss of 91 community pharmacies in England in 2022-23.

As of March 2023, England has a total of 11,414 active community pharmacies, as reported by the Journal.

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