MP pledges support for pharmacies

St Helens South and Whiston MP Marie Rimmer

St Helens South and Whiston MP Marie Rimmer

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An MP has pledged to oppose government plans to cut the budget for local pharmacies.

Marie Rimmer MP has pledged her continued support to the campaign opposing the Government’s plan to cut the budget for local chemists, after talks between the Government and the sector broke down.

Negotiations on a new package of funding for community pharmacies have ceased and the Government is set to push through a funding cut that could force thousands of chemists to close across the country.

The Government’s initial plan to cut £170 million from the community pharmacy budget – a cut of 6 per cent – was put on hold after pressure from campaigners, but a new round damaging cuts could now be imposed by the Government.

The Government own figures have shown that the £170 million cut could force up to 3,000 community pharmacies – one in four across the country – to close their doors. This could risk the future of dozens of pharmacies in St Helens and Knowsley and many of the 330 community pharmacies across Merseyside.

Marie Rimmer is opposing these cuts. Commentating, she said: “The Government should drop their damaging plan to cut community pharmacies and get back around the negotiating table with the sector.

“Cutting community pharmacies would be bad for our local community as many people, including young families and elderly people rely on them for free medical advice and prescription medicine.

“The Government’s plan is also a false economy for the NHS, because community pharmacies save the NHS money. Cutting them will only add more costs in the long run. The Government should think again urgently before it is too late.”