West Norfolk MP backs pharmacies in fund fight

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pharmacy SUS-150511-094005001
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North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham has been visiting community pharmacies, to listen to their fears over funding cuts.

Plans by the Department of Health could reduce the number of community pharmacies nationally by as much as 25 per cent.

His first call was to Boots , in Lynn High Street.

He met with staff who told him about the wide range of services offered and the close relationship with patients, even in a busy high street branch.

He heard fears that the blunt cuts would affect all sizes of community pharmacies, and while staff will do all that they can to maintain the high standard of patient services, there may well be a knock on effect on investment and confidence.

It was also made clear that the Government assumption that there were too many pharmacies everywhere was flawed, and that existing coverage in Lynn and Norfolk was much needed.

Long-serving pharmacist Alison Wood said: “I’m really proud that I’m a well- recognised member of the community. The trusting relationships built up over the years have enabled us to deliver a consistently high quality service that is valued by patients and their families.”

His next visit was to Alan Stockley’s, at Snettisham, now owned by retired Norfolk GPs Martin and Mary Kenny.

The pharmacist, Lisa Pearson, told him about the huge efforts chemists go to in supporting local patients, relieving a massive amount of pressure from GP and other healthcare services.

Dr Kenny said: “It was heartening to see first-hand that Sir Henry has this understanding, knowing that once lost this resource can never again be available.”

A national petition against the pharmacy cuts was recently handed into No.10. Signed by more than 2 million patients, it was the largest healthcare petition ever submitted to Downing Street.

Sir Henry said: “I do believe that the dedicated professionals I met today have put forward an extremely strong case for a few sensible alterations to the existing policy.

“We need to make the Government realise that however much of a concern they have about those town centres and cities where there is a proliferation of pharmacies, it would be quite wrong to have a one-size fits all, which removes money from every pharmacy across the country.”