PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes

Closures of community pharmacy in England are rising alarmingly at a time when people need more healthcare services, the Pharmacy Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) chief executive Simon Dukes has reminded the government.

In his latest video blog, PSNC boss said: “What ministers and officials have to understand is that pharmacy closures are a real and growing concern, both to NHS and the patients. Over the next 12 months, we will need to deal with the impacts of long Covid, health inequalities and the ongoing Covid vaccination requirement. We will need every community pharmacy.”

Dukes noted that since 2016 more than 600 pharmacies have shut their operations in England and 200 during the past one year alone, despite government’s £370m advanced payment to cover the sector’s costs incurred during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He cautioned that around 30 per cent of these closures were being reported in the most deprived areas of the country.

Dukes added: “The Department of Health and Social Care will tell you that there are more pharmacies in those areas, so losing a few probably doesn’t matter. Also that government spend on pharmaceutical services is greater than in non-deprived areas and that not many pharmacies in the Pharmacy Access Scheme (PhAS) have actually closed.

“What PSNC is saying to ministers is that, yes, there are more pharmacies in deprived areas but not when adjusted for population. And yes you many be spending more money on pharmaceutical services because there are greater health needs, which is why you need more pharmacies in the first place… any pharmacy eligible for PhAS funding that closes is surely unacceptable.”

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