Pharmacies closure fears amid Government funding cuts
Pharmacies in England are facing "damaging" Government cuts which could force some to close, the industry's negotiating body has warned.
The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said it has been told it faces cuts of 12% in the current financial year, with more to follow in the year after.
PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe said if pharmacies were forced to close it would simply add to the pressures on the rest of health service as more people would turn to their GPs.
"It is madness and it is so damaging to the people who use pharmacies every day, it is so damaging to the NHS and it so damaging to social care because a lot of this burden will fall on the NHS in other places and on social care," she told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
In a letter to Department of Health seen by the BBC, Ms Sharpe said they were facing cuts of £113 million in the final three months of the current financial year with further cuts of £200 million (7%) in 2017-18.
"The proposals were and remain founded on ignorance of the value of pharmacies to local communities, to the NHS and to social care, and will do great damage to all three. We cannot accept them," Ms Sharpe wrote.
The Department of Health said no final decisions had been taken regarding funding levels for pharmacies.
"We want to modernise the pharmacy sector - giving patients the best care by making the most of pharmacists' skills. That's why we are investing £112 million to deliver a further 1,500 pharmacists in general practice by 2020," a spokesman said.
"We have worked collaboratively with the PSNC and have listened to their suggestions and counter-proposals over the course of many months.
"Ministers are considering a proposed package for the sector and no final decision has been taken, but we are committed to offering more help to those pharmacies people most depend on compared to others."