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Letter: Pharmacy Closure is the Result of Deep Seated Problems

Published on: 20 Nov, 2023
Updated on: 20 Nov, 2023

From: Tom Wolfenden

In response to: Boots MD Rejects MP’s Plea to Reconsider Merrow Closure – Urgent Meeting Now Requested

Whilst I wish our MP luck in her discussions with Boots’ MD, we should recognise that this was a purely commercial decision.

I’d suggest Ms Richardson’s energies be better deployed seeking to address the underlying causes of the decision, namely the chronic shortage of pharmacists (itself driven by a combination of factors including over-the-counter abuse and her government’s policy of encouraging pharmacists to help backfill for the shortage of GPs by taking on non-dispensing work), and the move to more on-line purchasing of medicines.

If we really want to safeguard our local pharmacies we need a better workforce plan to train and retain pharmacists, and then appropriate incentives for GP surgeries to expand their services to include on-site dispensing.

A recent expert panel review of the government’s commitment to protect access to local physical NHS pharmaceutical services rated it as “requires improvement”. The government should and could be acting now to address these shortcomings.

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