Calderdale community pharmacies have taken their struggle to protect vital services and fight the threat of closures to Westminster.
Pharmacy teams and patients took their concerns to Downing Street presenting the Prime Minister with a public petition in support of local pharmacies across the UK.
In December 2015 the Government published a letter to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, which represents community pharmacy contractors (owners) on NHS matters in which it announced a funding reduction and range of other changes.
The cuts could lead to 12 pharmacy closures across Calderdale according to Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire.
Anne Cawdron who runs Stainland Pharmacy and is a member of the West Yorkshire Local pharmaceutical Committee representing Community Pharmacies in Calderdale said community pharmacies and their services are vital.
“Anyone can use a community pharmacy and use the services available. A lot of elderly people want that face to face contact as they are discussing personal issues.
“There has been no impact assessment on how these changes and cuts will effect communities. In the short term it could see staff numbers reduced.
“No pharmacy would want to close but may have to if they are no longer viable. Even if staff numbers are reduced it will have a knock on effect to GPs and A&E departments and we know they are already pushed to the limit.
“If pharmacies were to close I couldn’t quite imagine how services would work.”
Upon hearing from ministers that the Government’s proposals may lead to thousands of community pharmacies closing, teams in Calderdale joined the fight.
Robbie Turner, Chief Executive Officer of CPWY, said: “Community pharmacy teams are the first port of call for healthcare for many people and our regular patients and the wider community really rely on us.
“Many of the services offered, such as home delivery, are a real help to some of our most vulnerable patients – we’re very worried about what would happen if those services were lost.”
Halifax MP Holly Lynch debated the issue in Parliament saying serious questions would have to be raised over the reorganisation of NHS services and the Government’s “care close to home” agenda if pharmacies were forced to close.