Half South Bristol pharmacies at risk
Published on: 28 Oct 2016
AS MANY as half of the 31 pharmacies across South Bristol could be at risk of closure following the announcement of a cut in budget of up to seven per cent over the next two years.
Protection will disappear for chemists within a mile of each other. The Government is presenting the changes as a drive for efficiency.
Health minister David Mowat announced on October 20 that chemists will lose 4 per cent of their funding in 2016-17 and a further 3.4 per cent in 2017/18.
Health ministers have previously hinted that one in four chemists could close, or about 3,000 across the country.
But award-winning chemist Ade Williams, who runs Bedminster Pharmacy in Cannon Street, believes the effects here could be much worse.
“The local impact of the cuts in South Bristol will likely exceed the 25 per cent closure risk the minister expressed earlier in the year,” said Mr Williams.
“This is due to our high density of pharmacies, which means our 31 pharmacies are not protected by the Government’s one-mile proposal. We are likely to face similar to the 50 per cent closure risk that London is facing.”
Bristol South MP Karin Smyth believes the savings will be self- defeating. If people can’t get help from a pharmacist they are more likely go to an overburdened GP or even to A&E, she said.
“Research indicates a third of people who seek initial advice from a pharmacy would make a GP appointment instead if it shut, and in areas of high deprivation this rises as high as 80 per cent,” said Ms Smyth, who was an NHS manager before she was elected as MP in 2015.
“South Bristol residents value pharmacies as vital additions to local shopping streets in places like Bedminster and Filwood.
“They link to GP surgeries, have strong relationships with all the doctors, know their communities well and, like any good business, tailor their offer to changing need and demand,” she said.
Many South Bristol chemists offer help in quitting smoking, offer flu jabs, and give advice on all kinds of conditions from asthma to disability aids.
Some, like Bedminster Pharmacy, can even offer free access to slimming classes if people need to lose weight.
Mr Williams and his team were nominated for four awards in June at the Chemist & Druggist Awards – more than any other chemists shop in the UK. They won Pharmacy Team of the Year.rd. The judges said they were impressed with “a team philosophy entirely focused on improving outcomes for individuals and the community it serves.”