Pharmacy numbers remain at or around pre-2016 levels, despite funding cuts designed to consolidate the sector, a debate in the House of Lords has revealed.
Health minister Lord O’Shaughnessy (Con) told the House that closure of pharmacies resulting from the efficiency savings envisaged by the funding cuts “was not the aim, and nor has it been the result”.
In the debate, former pharmacy minister Lord Hunt said that he regretted the delay in the review of the pharmacy control of entry regulations until the end of March 2018. The review was originally intended to be complete by the end of August, and aims to evaluate whether the current regulations are delivering their intended outcomes – but this has been delayed by factors including PSNC’s judicial review.
In response, Baroness Redfern (Con) said it was important to “make absolutely sure that no community, whether in urban or rural settings, will be left without a pharmacy.” Baroness Seccombe (Con) added: “In rural areas it can be more than difficult to buy those essentials we rely on, especially if you do not have a car.”