11 Islington pharmacies could close as a result of the Tory Government’s planned cuts to community pharmacy budgets.
There are currently 49 pharmacies in Islington, serving a population of 225,000. They have a vital place in the local community, particularly for the elderly, disabled and those with long term illnesses. They also provide vital support to already over-stretched surgeries and hospitals.
Despite this, the borough risks being reduced to 38 pharmacies.
The Tory Government is ignoring national opposition and pushing ahead with huge cuts to community pharmacy budgets -; a 12% reduction on current funding levels for the rest of this year and a 7% cut next year. Up to 3,000 across England could close as a result.
The Government has announced a ‘Pharmacy Access Scheme’ that it claims will protect access in areas where there are fewer pharmacies with higher health needs, but it is misguided. The scheme is simply based on distance from other pharmacies and takes no notice of local health needs at all.
Cllr Janet Burgess, Executive Member for Health and Social Care, said: “At a time when the NHS is at breaking point, with A&E waiting times up and GP surgeries struggling to cope, the Tory Government should not be putting this extra strain on our community health services.
“Islington Labour councillors will fight against these unfair cuts. We will also be writing to the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, to outline our opposition. Pharmacies offer vital services to the local community, saving hundreds of GP visits and delivering preventative advice, and the shock of losing 11 of them will be felt by those who need them the most.”