Community pharmacies in Tring, Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead face an uncertain future, as the Department of Health is to impose funding cuts worth £113 million for this year.
This will be followed by further cuts that will reduce funding for pharmacies by more than 7 per cent in 2017/18.
Earlier this year the Government said this may mean that some pharmacies have to close, but recently it has not been able to confirm how many pharmacies could be affected.
Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, which is the national negotiator for community pharmacy, says the funding cuts are likely to see patients suffer as pharmacies are forced to find ways to reduce their costs to cope with the cuts. They say pharmacy owners may have to consider measures such as reducing staffing or opening hours, and even stopping certain services that have previously been available for free.
Local Pharmacist, Raj Patel of Woods Pharmacy in Hemel Hempstead said: “This news is extremely disappointing and I’m really worried about the impact it is going to have on my patients. We work very hard to ensure that all our patients have the medicines they need, when they need them and that they understand how to use them and are leading the healthiest lives that they can. With these funding cuts we are going to struggle to manage and to continue to provide all of the services that we want to.”
Hertfordshire Local Pharmaceutical Committee representative Lewis Smart said: “The cuts are likely to lead to pharmacies in Tring, Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead having to reduce staffing, cut opening hours and reduce some of the services offered, such as home delivery of medicines and the supply of medicines in compliance aids. All of which affect patients and will also of course add to the pressure already being placed on local GP practices and hospitals.”