Priti discusses pressures on independent pharmacies during visit to Tollesbury Pharmacy
The Witham MP, Priti Patel, has met Dimple Bhatia the owner of Tollesbury’s independent local pharmacy on Friday (24th February) to discuss the challenges faced by the independent pharmacy sector. Mr Bhatia is experiencing a range of pressures with the pharmacy due to structural NHS problems including the lack of fair funding from the NHS to pharmacies.
Mr Bhatia serves over 3,000 people and deals with more than 400 prescriptions a day, 40 people a day come in about their health conditions and he administers Covid and flu vaccinations. He also has to find time to order new stock and run a business.
During their meeting on Friday 24th February, he outlined to Priti how this increased demand for his services is happening at the same time as overheads are soaring and the NHS funding for prescription medicines is falling. He is buying in antibiotics for chest infections at £12 and is being reimbursed only £2.04.
Speaking after the meeting, Priti said: “I am very familiar with the specific concerns that have been raised with me, in particular the NHS tariff for prescription medicines and the lack of fair funding for pharmacies when they are purchasing medical supplies from the NHS. Local pharmacies are literally subsiding patient care and the NHS, which also raises risks to patient care and safety.
“This sector needs short-term funding from the NHS which has received considerable cash boosts to its budget, which is simply not cascading down to the patient front line. This funding is necessary to stabilise the community pharmacy sector and enable pharmacies to keep their doors open. I shall be raising this issue directly with the Government and pressing them for greater collaboration to secure the fair funding that pharmacies need.”
Dimple Bhatia, owner of the Tollesbury Pharmacy said: “I was very pleased to give Priti an understanding of the situation many independent pharmacists find themselves in. We do need someone to take the message to Westminster. Like everyone else, we have issues with our overheads and the public are naturally drawn to us if they have difficulties in accessing heath care services, which has been one of the effects of Covid.
Unfortunately, this has created intolerable pressures which mean that a sensible work/life balance is out of the question, for most local pharmacists.”