'Massive support' to halt pharmacy cuts

Will Taylor

A ‘massive’ show of support for a pharmacy was demonstrated by its customers in opposition to incoming national budget cuts.

Olivier Picard, who owns Newdays Pharmacy, in Twyford Road, organised the campaign on Thursday after the Government announced in October it would cut £113million of the pharmacy budget between December and March, which he estimated would cost each pharmacy about £10,000 a month.

A further cut of £95million is planned for the year after March, which would cost about a further £8,000 monthly.

Mr Picard is worried it would add to the strain on the NHS and GPs, which he said were already under pressure, and that in order to cope with reduced funding he may have to cut services such as home deliveries.

The knock-on effect could see customers who would be served best by the pharmacy ‘end up in hospital, bed blocking, or at the GP surgeries’.

Mr Picard added: “People have turned out to show massive support for their local pharmacy.

“It shows the Government’s approach is not the people’s approach.”

Many of the customers had also used it as an opportunity to pick up prescriptions.

David and Joy Chambers, who use Newdays nearly once a month between them, said the pharmacy was essential in taking the pressure off GPs and hospitals because minor ailments can be helped by a member of staff, such as David Ostrowski.

“You trust them,” said Joy.

“David will always find you something. ‘Try this,’ he’ll say.”

Gordon Storey, of the businesses group Twyford Together, said: “The Government is asking pharmacies to take care of people with coughs.

“At the same time they are taking away their money.”

Mr Picard hopes the cuts would be reversed and the turn-out would make MPs see the scale of support for local pharmacies.

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