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GP practices to come under pressure from pharmacy closures

Community phamacy closures could put ’untenable’ pressure on GP practices, new research has suggested.

The YouGov research, commissioned for Dispensing Health Equality, showed that more than one in four people (29%) who would normally seek advice first from their local pharmacy on common ailments would instead make an appointment with their GP practice if the local pharmacy closed.

The research further showed that the pressures would be worst in deprived areas, where four out of five people said they would approach a GP instead.

The report, published by Pharmacy Voice, said: 'An uplift in GP appointments is untenable in any part of the country, but especially so in those areas that find it difficult to attract GPs in the first place.'

NHS Alliance co-chair Dr Mark Spencer, a GP in Fleetwood in Lancashire, said: 'At a time when there is an entirely unacceptable widening gap in life expectancy between rich and poor, extreme pressure on GPs, and increasing public awareness of the role pharmacy is playing in delivering services to support public health, it would be catastrophic if the areas that most need it are deprived of access to this crucial community asset.'

GP leaders have warned that the closure of up to 3,000 pharmacies in the UK will be a ‘disaster’ that could lead to greater patient demand on GPs for minor illnesses and severe problems with repeat prescriptions.

The Government has consulted on plans to slash funding for community pharmacy in 2016/17 by £170m – a cut of more than 6%.


Readers' comments (4)

  • Vinci Ho

    You see
    Harvey Dent complained that we were always moaning and talking about only the negatives of general practice. He has just become the latest executive of this government to talk about the 'negatives' of leaving EU. Daenery Targaryen was right about this bunch of politicians missing the opportunity of selling the positives of remaining in EU , instead running a fear-based campaign.
    Of course , the reality is the negatives we are talking in NHS and general practice are evidently down to this government while those 'threats' , for instance , from Ozzy were down to Pinocchio's wonderful tale according to IDS.
    Politics has become so ugly under these guys(all of them).....
    By the way , for Game of Thrones followers , tonight's episode (S6 ep5) is the best so far , unmissable !!!

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  • Vinci Ho

    We (GP)are Hodor: Hold The Door..,,

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  • closure of community pharmacies is so short sighted.With restricted access to G.P appointments their help and provision of medication for minor ailments is invaluable

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  • Hold the phone folks.

    Whilst I don't think closure of pharmacies is good on any level - it reduces choice & competition which should stimulate quality of service, and it makes less points of entry into care available and will probably favour the corporates who will be less scrupulous - this is far from being an independent and unbiased report.

    Pharmacists commission a survey of Joe public about pharmacies closing and publish in their own magazine that this is bad. If this was a retrospective study of ACTUAL demand levels following a large cohort of closures and their corresponding practices, then I might believe this. Mostly hot air.

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