Conor McGinn has thrown his support behind the campaign to protect the vital services provided by community pharmacies in St Helens.
While visiting Donlon’s in Haydock and Well in Rainford, he called on the Government to stop a planned хЃ170 million cut to community pharmacies which would put their very existence at risk.
The withdrawal of funding will put pressure on the services local pharmacies provide for patients at a time when the Government is asking them to do more to prevent ill health and promote healthy living.
The cuts, which will take effect this year, will see the budget for community pharmacies cut from хЃ2.8 billion in 2015/16 to хЃ2.63 in 2016/17, which amounts to a real terms cut of 6 per cent.
The reduction in funding also comes as NHS primary care and accident and emergency services are struggling to cope with demand.
Conor is urging everyone to sign the petition support local community pharmacies at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/116943 хЪand is urging others to do the same.
Commenting Conor said:
“The planned cuts to community pharmacies will limit the ability of pharmacies to provide vital services to patients, and will have a damaging impact on public health in St Helens North and constituencies across the UK.
“At a time when our NHS is stretched to the limit and more people are waiting longer at A&E departments, cuts to local community pharmacies will just make things worse.
“It is bad policy and a false economy, because better public health, better preventative measures and advice from pharmacists means better treatment in the community and helps save the NHS money.
“That is why I am joining with local pharmacists in St Helens North to call on the Government to drop the planned cuts and work with pharmacies for a fairer deal.
“I urge others to show their support by signing the petition, either online or at their local pharmacy.”
Chris Williams from Donlon pharmacies in Haydock, who is urging customers to back the campaign, said:
“I’d like to thank Conor for all his support and for highlighting this important issue.
“There is a real danger that these cuts will make many pharmacies unviable.
“That can only mean longer trips not just for prescriptions, but for free advice on minor ailments or medicines as well as a number of other NHS led services we provide.
“As a consequence, it will put more pressure on GP surgeries and A&E departments”
Details of how you can support your local pharmacies can be found at http://supportyourlocalpharmacy.org/what-you-can-do/