One third of Brent’s pharmacies are at risk of closure

Rajni Shah from Vantage Chemist with staff member Priti

Rajni Shah from Vantage Chemist with staff member Priti - Credit: Archant

Brent is at risk of losing a third of all its pharmacies if government cuts to their funding are not reversed.

Cllr Krupesh Hirani

Cllr Krupesh Hirani - Credit: Archant

A total of 22 of the borough’s 74 pharmacies are at risk after the Department of Health announced it will slash £170million off funding the country’s stores.

Health chiefs argue too many chemists are too close to each other, in clusters of three or more within a 10-minute walk of each other. Miran Patel, from Globe Pharmacy in Burnley Road, Dollis Hill, said: “It will impact everyone. The plans were frozen for a time but now they are going ahead and some pharmacies won’t be able to afford to stay open.

“The government won’t impose the closure but because of the funding loss a lot of pharmacies won’t be able to stay open, it’s a double edged sword. There will be staff cut backs and a reduction of services we want to offer but won’t be able to.”

Rajni Shah, who has run Vantage pharmacy, in Neasden Lane, for 32 years, where there are three other competitors, said: “I don’t feel at risk because we are a very busy pharmacy but there are a lot around who will feel it. We have fewer overheads. Others who have to pay rents or have loans will really struggle, they might even close. Anyone who’s got into pharmacy in the last five years will be struggling.”

dawn butler 1

dawn butler 1 - Credit: Archant

Pharmacists, who are highly trained, play a vital role offering smoking cessation services, blood sugar checks as well as advise on common problems such as coughs, colds, pains and healthy eating.

Cllr Krupesh Hirani, Brent Council’s lead member for community wellbeing, said he was extremely concerned about the impact on the borough and had written to all three local Labour MPs - Brent Central’s Dawn Butler, Brent North’s Barry Gardiner and Tulip Siddiq, who represent Hampstead and Kilburn.

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He said: “The government is disproportionally impacting Brent. Cuts to pharmacies across the nation are 12 per cent and 30pc of Brent pharmacies are at risk as a result of these cuts.

“I will be meeting with local pharmacists in the coming weeks to speak directly with them about the impact these cuts would have, and ensure that Brent Council is doing everything it can to protect these vital local services.”

Dawn Butler said: “A loss of 22 pharmacies in Brent would be devastating. This proposal from this Conservative government would have a devastating impact and will likely mean more people trying to access their GP, or turning up at Central Middlesex Hospital Urgent Care Centre.

“These cuts are a false economy, and ultimately a lose-lose policy. I am calling on the Government to reconsider these hugely damaging proposals.”

David Mowat MP, Health Minister, said:“Patients deserve the best possible care which is why this Government is committed to building a modern pharmacy sector that is fit for the 21st Century.

“Far from jeopardising services, our modernisation package will make the most of these skills and transform how pharmacists and their teams operate in the community, ensuring the public receives the very best care in the places they need it, seven days a week.”