Commenting on an government statement today (20 October) confirming cuts to pharmacy funding, Bristol South MP Karin Smyth said:
“Tory government cuts to the pharmacy budget are an illogical false economy that will increase pressure on GP surgeries and hospitals. Investment in pharmacies saves the NHS money in the long-run. Research indicates a third of people who seek initial advice from a pharmacy would make a GP appointment instead if it shut, and in areas of high deprivation this rises as high as 80 per cent.
“When GP access is difficult – as it currently is here in south Bristol – and waiting times and A & E pressures are a problem, good pharmacies offer a good quality service and peace of mind, often at times of great distress and anxiety.
“If Ministers are putting forward a new model that is genuinely built on pharmacies being at the forefront of government thinking in addressing the challenges of our healthcare system, that would be a good thing. But I know that people in south Bristol who rely on their pharmacies will need a lot of convincing that the government ‘modernisation package’ is anything other than a fig leaf.
“The government should remember pharmacies’ community role often extends beyond their healthcare one. South Bristol residents value them as vital additions to local shopping streets in places like Bedminster and Filwood. They link to GP surgeries, have strong relationships with all the doctors, know their communities well and, like any good business, tailor their offer to changing need and demand, whilst providing a pleasant environment and a range of products.”