05:11PM, Saturday 16 April 2016
Vulnerable patients in Datchet and Wraysbury could end up in hospital if the villages' independent pharmacies are forced to close by government funding cuts.
That is the view of Simon Carter, owner of the Datchet Village Pharmacy and Wraysbury Village Pharmacy, who is calling on his patients to sign the Support Your Local Pharmacy Campaign petition.
In December the government announced plans to cut the budget for community chemists by six per cent - a move which would see funding reduced from £2.8billion in 2015 to 2016 to £2.63bn for 2016 to 2017.
While the government will not tell pharmacies to close directly, it is estimated the funding cuts could force up to 3,000 independent stores across the country to shut.
Wraysbury resident Simon, who has owned his Datchet chemist for 16 years, said: “The Datchet Village Pharmacy is very historic and the idea that it gets destroyed on a whim is an oversight by the government.
“We have a huge number of people who visit on a weekly basis who need the support of the pharmacy.
“Without us, they’d probably end up in hospital, costing the NHS even more money.”
In a letter written to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee in December, the Department of Health said it wanted to increase the number of patients ordering prescriptions and medication online.
But 52-year-old Simon, who has also owned the pharmacy in Wraysbury High Street for 21 years, told the Express that this would take away the opportunity for elderly patients to get face-to-face advice.
Simon added: “We know all our patients pretty personally so if there’s a change in their health we would normally spot it.
“If prescriptions are ordered centrally and online it’s far less easy.”
Patients can show their support by backing the National Pharmacy Association’s petition which is available to sign at the Datchet and Wraysbury stores.
The NPA has set a target of reaching 1.5m signatures by the time the Government’s consultation period on the plans ends in mid-May.
The Wraysbury petition has already attracted more than 1,000 signatures.
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