PDA: Scottish health secretary should get tough on pharmacy closures
Scottish health secretary Humza Yousaf should take firm action to stop the trend of temporary pharmacy closures that has emerged in the last two years, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association has said.
In a statement yesterday (Wednesday August 10), the PDA called on Mr Yousaf to “ensure the regulation of poor business behaviours,” claiming that while unforeseen closures have always taken place “the indiscriminate scale” currently being seeing “seems to have evolved over the last 20 months”.
The PDA said Mr Yousaf should empower the Care Inspectorate to regulate pharmacies’ business behaviours, introduce a “regime of financial sanctions” for those found to be in breach of standards and allow NHS boards to take “the ultimate option” of taking over a pharmacy contract from a business owner.
The organisation, which disputes the claims of some business owners that the UK is suffering from a shortage of trained pharmacists, said the situation “continues to present significant risk of harm” and has prompted a number of pharmacists to raise concerns around the possible impact of temporary closures on patients.
The rise in temporary closures has been observed across the UK since the first half of 2020. NHS Tayside wrote to LloydsPharmacy in November last year warning it that the company may be disqualified from the pharmaceutical list in the region over failures to comply with contractual hours, while health boards in Wales warned contractors earlier this year that they may face financial sanctions for persistent closures.
The GPhC recently told Independent Community Pharmacist that it was committed to helping address this “complex issue,” although it insisted that the problem has been driven by financial and labour markets rather than factors that directly concern it as regulator.