Clarke urges Health Minister to reverse Pharmacy cutbacks

Councillor Patrick Clarke has written directly to the Health Minister Edwin Poots requesting his department to reconsider any possible reduction in funding to community pharmacies which could see a reduction in funding over up to 30% removed from the service.

Newcastle Alliance Councillor Patrick Clarke has strongly urged the Minister for the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety that cutbacks of up to £38 million could force the closure of local community pharmacies in Down District.

Newcastle Alliance Councillor Patrick Clarke stated:

“I have made written representations on behalf of local pharmacies within Down District regarding the draconian cutbacks which are being proposed by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety which could put at risk services provided by these local pharmacies.”

I have outlined to Minister Edwin Poots that local pharmacies are an important part of the community particularly within the rural areas where local pharmacies provide an important front line health care service. Any cutbacks to frontline health services particularly to the community pharmacy division will result in inevitable job losses, reduced pharmacy services and opening hours and possible closure.”

“I am extremely concerned that local community pharmacies in my own constituency area of Newcastle, Castlewellan, Dundrum, and indeed across Down District may be forced to reduce the level of service they deliver to their patients given that many pharmacies deliver prescriptions and oxygen and other out of hours services to patients who are otherwise unable to collect due to their health.”

“The estimated cutbacks of £38 million will ultimately have ramifications for local pharmacies in Down District which will lead to pharmacies ultimately closing due to reduced income.”

“Many community pharmacies serve rural communities so their closure will mean patients having to travel further for the service, patients are ultimately going to suffer, especially the elderly or those who rely on public transport.”

“I therefore hope that as Minister for Health Edwin Poots will reverse any financial cutbacks to frontline pharmacy services and reconsider any possible reduction in financial funding to community pharmacy services.”

“I would also urge people to support their local community pharmacy and also sign the petition at their local pharmacy to protect vital community pharmacy services.”

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