Quarter of Sheffield pharmacies under threat of closure

Sheffield pharmacies are calling on the government to take urgent action after the third closure in less than a year.

Tuesday, 5th February 2019, 09:58 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 16:36 pm
Lloyds Pharmacy which is closing at Sainsbury's,Crystal Peaks Shoping Centre.......Pic Steve Ellis

Pharmacy budgets have been cut by millions in recent years and it is the lack of funding which has led to the closures.

Sheffield Council also estimate that up to a quarter of Sheffield’s pharmacies are at risk of closing over the next few years. They also say it will hit the most deprived, elderly and long-term sick the hardest.

Councillor Chris Peace cabinet member for health and social care.

Councillor Chris Peace, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “The government is expecting pharmacies to do a lot more for a lot less – and it’s completely unsustainable. We need proper funding for community pharmacies to be playing a bigger role in primary care, but instead they are closing down because of poor investment.”

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It comes after Lloyds Pharmacy announced they will be closing their branch at Sainsbury’s, in Crystal Peaks, next month. It follows Day Lewis Pharmacy in Crookesmore and Bradway Pharmacy, that have both shut within the past year.

Coun Peace said: “People need to be supported to live well.

“That's the only way we're going to sustain our health service, instead of just focusing on illness with a patchwork approach.

“The government are once again being incredibly short sighted in failing to value local pharmacies and the preventive work they do for communities.

“At a local level Sheffield Labour councillors are fighting for our communities – we were part of a successful city wide campaign to fight for the walk-in-centre to be retained and we fight every day for better funding for our NHS – to ensure that our GPs and pharmacies are rooted in the communities they serve.

“I am deeply concerned by the recent closure of Sheffield’s pharmacies and have written to the Health Secretary demanding that the government halt funding cuts which are forcing our pharmacies to close".

Community Pharmacy Sheffield, which represents all 129 pharmacies in the city, said the industry is at ‘tipping point’ and urged the government to take action.

CPS chief officer, Claire Thomas, said: “Closures don’t give the full picture. Many pharmacies are having to find ways to reduce costs, for example by cutting staff and opening hours or charging for services they had provided for free like home deliveries.

“We’re seen as a safety net, and we’re often the first point of call for minor conditions and advice.

“If more pharmacies close or reduce their opening hours, it’s going to increase pressure on GPs and emergency and urgent care centres, which are already creaking under the strain.”