A South Yorkshire MP has warned of a renewed threat to local pharmacies, as Ministers are set to announce cutbacks to the community pharmacy budget.
Michael Dugher, MP for Barnsley East, fears that Government plans to announce a package of funding cuts to community pharmacies, could force an unknown number of chemists to close.
The Government estimated that its original package of cuts could force up to 3,000 community pharmacies – one in four across the country – to close, but Ministers are unable to say where cuts will fall or how many chemists will now be affected.
There are 1,266 community pharmacies across Yorkshire and the Humber that dispense an average of 9,483 prescription items to patients each month. The Government’s cut could force around 300 – one in every four in Yorkshire and the Humber - to close, according to their own estimates.
Mr Dugher also warned the Government that cutting local chemists would increase downstream costs in other parts of the NHS – especially in already overstretched GP surgeries and A&E units.
Mr Dugher said: “I know from talking to pharmacists and local residents in Barnsley, who depend on our community pharmacies, how vital they are to our villages and to the local NHS. The Government cannot not say how many local chemists will be forced to close or which pharmacies would be affected.”