Wakefield pharmacies facing closure due to funding cuts

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Government funding cuts could lead to up to 19 pharmacies closing in the Wakefield district, it is feared.

A campaign to save high street chemists’ from the axe has been launched over fears that closures could lead to GP surgeries being swamped with extra patients.

Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire, which represents pharmacists on matters involving NHS services, said as many as 19 were under threat in Wakefield.

Robbie Turner, its chief executive officer, said: “Community pharmacy teams are the first port of call for healthcare for many people and our regular patients and the wider community really rely on us.”

Up to 3,000 pharmacies in England are at said to be risk after the Department of Health announced it was slashing their funding by £170m.

On Tuesday, patients and pharmacists presented a petition to the Prime Minister which has so far been signed by 1.5m people.

It is not yet known which individual chemists’ stores could close down.

But the potential closures of have caused alarm after NHS bosses advised patients to visit their pharmacists to ease the pressure on busy GPs and busy hospital A&E departments.

It is feared that sick people would lose quick access to medicines and healthcare advice.

Mr Turner said: “There is already extreme pressure on GP services and closing pharmacies will pile more pressure on them whilst reducing the role pharmacy teams play in promoting public health.

“Many of the services offered, such as home delivery, are a real help to some of our most vulnerable patients – we’re very worried about what would happen if those services were lost.”