PDA supports citizen group petition to save community pharmacies from closure

The PDA have added their support to a petition organised by Grassroots campaigning organisation, 38 Degrees, that calls on the Westminster government to recompense pharmacies for the extra costs they have incurred by staying open to provide health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tue 15th December 2020 The PDA

Pharmacists will know that during the pandemic, especially during the first lockdown when GP practices and hospitals restricted patient access, community pharmacies worked tirelessly to ensure that vital services were provided for the communities they are based in. Pharmacists went way beyond their normal duties, so as to ensure continued public access to primary care services and often, whilst working in some extra-ordinarily challenging conditions. Many additional costs were incurred, such as purchasing PPE, making the pharmacies Covid secure, taking on extra staff at a time when many of their regular staff members were ill due to the Covid pandemic and by providing vital additional Covid related services such as delivering medicines to the homes of patients who were shielding.

Hospitals had £Billions of government debt written off and many failed and expensive initiatives like defective PPE initiatives and the early track and trace systems were written off. However, community pharmacies, many of which are small family-owned businesses providing vital services to communities, were provided with only an advance of money that was already going to be paid to them for providing their regular services at a later date. The painful news is that despite these extra-ordinary efforts the Westminster government are now insisting that they repay that money, at a time when the sector has already faced many years of cuts to their funding. This means that these small businesses which invested massively in providing services to support society during the crisis periods will now be required to fund that emergency contribution themselves and will not be receiving the support of the government.

This week the recommendations from a flash inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Pharmacy, called on the Government to write off the £370M advanced payments as an immediate way of providing relief to the sector.

Inevitably, the future of tens of thousands of pharmacists is inextricably linked to the long-term viability of the community pharmacy sector and that is why the PDA, which is the largest pharmacist membership organisation and the only independent trade union exclusively for pharmacists in the UK, is giving support to the campaign.

Many independent pharmacies in particular are now in deficit and risk closure. The loss of pharmacists providing NHS services in the heart of England’s communities would be a double blow to the health system and to the local high street.

The PDA invites members, supporters and those who care about pharmacy provision in their local community to sign and share this petition.

ACT NOW: Sign the petition today and save our local pharmacies

The petition reads: 

To: Department of Health and NHS England

Save our local pharmacies

For months, pharmacy teams across the UK have been working without respite on the NHS frontline, playing a vital role in the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and helping reduce the pressure on GPs and A&Es.

But the government hasn’t done enough to give community pharmacies the money they need to meet the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. A third of family-owned pharmacies in England are now in deficit and some have closed for good.

Many more family-owned pharmacies in England could soon be forced to shut their doors unless the government acts.

The first step is to let pharmacies keep the money they were given for the crippling extra costs of staying open during the pandemic. This money was spent by pharmacies to provide vital healthcare and the government must keep its promise to cover these extra costs.

Community pharmacies are a local lifeline. They provide vital health and social care in communities across the country, including the most deprived neighbourhoods.

Please support our local pharmacies – so they can continue to keep people well and save lives!

ACT NOW: Sign the petition today and save our local pharmacies

 

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