Sue Hayman, Member of Parliament for Workington, has this week raised her concerns about the effect of funding cuts on community pharmacies in Cumbria, following an urgent question in Parliament to the pharmacies minister, David Mowat MP.
In the debate, Sue said: “Pharmacies have the potential to help the NHS become more efficient and community-based – an integral part of the Integrated Care Communities that the Success Regime in Cumbria is promoting, taking pressure off overstretched GPs and A&Es.
“We really struggle to recruit doctors in Cumbria, so any loss of community pharmacies is a serious loss to our community.
“Can the Minister assure me that these wider health challenges are being taken into account?”
Following a petition of over two million signatures, including a strong local campaign from Allisons Chemist in Cockermouth, the government last month paused the 6% cuts in order to examine the proposals more closely. Pharmacies are facing a need to save £170m as part of the NHS efficiencies drive.
Sue said: “I’ve written to the Minister, David Mowat, following our exchange in Parliament on community pharmacies, asking to meet with him to discuss the issue further. I had a good working relationship with his predecessor, Alistair Burt, and I hope we can continue this constructive work.
“I am hugely encouraged by this news and I am glad that the government has listened to the concerns of local community pharmacies and the millions of people who use them. The relationship that our community pharmacies have with their customers is absolutely vital.
“An effective pharmacy sector can be instrumental in taking the pressure off overstretched local GPs and hospitals, and we should do everything we can to support it.”