HomeNewsBurnham-On-Sea and Berrow pharmacies join national protest against funding cuts

Burnham-On-Sea and Berrow pharmacies join national protest against funding cuts

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Pharmacies in Burnham-On-Sea and Berrow took part in an “unprecedented” day of action on Thursday (June 20th) to protest at funding pressures.

Day Lewis outlets at Burnham Medical Centre and Berrow Health Centre blacked out their windows and staff wore black as they joined a national protest, as pictured here.

Thousands of pharmacies across the UK staged the “silent protests,” which were described as the first of their kind by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA).

The NPA says two thirds of pharmacies in England have had to cut their opening hours since 2015 due to “extreme funding pressures”.

A Berrow Day Lewis spokesperson said the team had received “lots of warm support from customers through the day, many of whom are unaware of the pressures we are under.”

Around 1,400 pharmacies have closed in England in the past 10 years, with 10 currently closing each week, says the NPA.

The NPA adds that with major parties promising to expand pharmacy services in England, there are questions about how they will reverse “deep cuts” and it says the NHS often does not cover pharmacies’ costs when they supply medicines.

Paul Rees, chief executive of the NPA said: “It was great to see pharmacies taking part in this day of action in all corners of the UK. This is a massive step and the first day of its kind, with pharmacies turning out their lights, blacking out their windows and highlighting the huge pressures they are under.”

“Funding for community pharmacy has been squeezed over the last decade and as a result it is now a sector in very real distress.”

“Pharmacy teams are finding it increasingly difficult to deliver excellent patient care, and they are suffering from increased stress and demoralisation. With the general election in full swing, it is vital that politicians get the message: there is now an emergency in our community pharmacy sector.”

The protest comes as Burnham’s Conservative General Election candidate Ashley Fox this week visited Burnham Community Pharmacy in Victoria Street. He met Pharmacy owner, Sagar Patel, and Yvonne Lamb, Operations Manager of Community Pharmacy Somerset. Ashley said: “Community pharmacies play a critical role in local neighbourhoods, providing a range of healthcare services alongside dispensing of medicines to all those who need them. They are a vital part of primary care. The pharmacy contract is due to be renegotiated in 2025 and we need to ensure that it ensures that community pharmacies are financially secure.”

There are seven candidates standing to become MP in the Bridgwater and Burnham constituency: Independent: Pelé Barnes; Reform UK: William Fagg; Conservatives: Ashley Fox; Green Party: Charlie Graham; Labour Party: Leigh Redman; Liberal Democrats: Claire Sully; and Workers Party: Gregory Tanner.

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