A community Pharmacy England paper has shown systemic pharmacy funding cuts of at least 25% in real terms since 2015.
Furthermore, data from the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) has shown that while 308 pharmacies opened in 2021/22, 418 closed.
In the 2022 ‘Community Pharmacy Workforce Survey’ there was a 13% decrease in the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) pharmacists in community pharmacies between 2021 and 2022. The data also shows a 15% decline in FTE-employed pharmacists, from 12,892 in 2021 to 10,943 in 2022. The vacancy rate for pharmacists was 16% in 2022, compared with 8% in 2021.
Meanwhile, a Parliamentary Question from Liberal Democrat MP Helen Morgan showed real terms funding into community pharmacies has fallen from almost £2.6bn to under £2.3bn.
It comes as the Government has introduced a “Pharmacy First” programme today.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader and Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:
“This is a long overdue step that comes too late for the many pharmacies that have closed, leaving communities around England without the walk-in high street health care they need.
This plan is needed to take stress off GPs and improve patient access but is at massive risk due to staff shortages, savage cuts and closures.
As the Conservative government continues to drag its heels on fixing people’s access to care, ultimately it’s people right across the country who will lose out.
With one hand the Conservatives are asking pharmacists to do more but with the other, they’ve cut millions of pounds of funding and overseen many closures.