To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce the number of pharmacies closing permanently.
19 July 2023
No assessment has been made of any shortfall in community pharmacy funding. The Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework commits £2.592 billion a year to fund the provision of National Health Service pharmaceutical services in England. In September 2022 we made an additional £100 million one-off investment to fund the increase in clinical services delivery by the sector. In May 2023, as part of the Delivery Plan for Recovering Access to Primary Care we committed to a further investment of up to £645 million to support a Pharmacy First service which will include expanded treatment options for seven common conditions, including earache, sore throat and urinary tract infection, and more blood pressure checks and oral contraception consultations in community pharmacy.
Pharmacy openings and closures in England are published by NHS Business Services Authority. Between 31 December 2022 and 30 June 2023, the number of pharmacies reduced by 222. This reduction is mainly driven by the large multiples reducing their portfolios. To address the disproportionately high rate of closures of 100-hour pharmacies, legislation was amended in April to allow those pharmacies to reduce their hours to a minimum of 72. The Department is monitoring the market, and access to pharmaceutical services remains good, with 80% of people in England living within 20 minutes walking distance of a community pharmacy and twice as many pharmacies in the more deprived areas.