Thousands of pharmacies on brink of closure – just as Tories say we need them more

Thousands of pharmacies are on the brink of closure – just as the Tories seek to rely on them to bail out struggling GPs.

A report by the National Pharmacy Association predicts 3,000, almost one in four, could shut by next year following years of funding cuts.

The Government announced plans this week to let pharmacists give prescriptions for seven common ailments.

Tories hope the policy, starting in winter, will end the daily 8am scramble for GP appointments.

But pharmacists branded the move unachievable.

Anil Sharma, boss of nine ­pharmacies in Health Secretary Steve Barclay’s North East Cambridgeshire patch, said: “Our primary function – dispensing medicines – is underfunded. Pharmacies haven’t had a pay rise for eight years so we are really struggling financially.”

Mr Sharma, 49, in the business for 25 years, said the cuts are also causing a workforce shortage as staff tell him they can earn more at McDonald’s.

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