We're suffering from a shortage of pharmacies, says Tory MP
The Conservative MP for North Devon Selaine Saxby has warned the Government that the wellbeing of patients in her local community is being jeopardised by a lack of pharmacies and dentists.
Ms Saxby’s concerns over the amount of money being invested in health services, particularly in the village of Braunton which she insisted had “suffered more than many with a limited pharmacy team” during the pandemic, prompted her to write to ministers seeking answers.
“When I moved to North Devon, years before I considered running for parliament, it was clear that there has been a shortage of NHS dentists in North Devon for some time and the pandemic has highlighted not only this problem, but our reliance on an understaffed pharmacy sector,” she said, claiming the local pharmacy workforce shortage was exacerbated by LloydsPharmacy reducing its number of branches.
“It was not the team’s fault, they worked heroically hard to meet demand, but when Lloyds moved from two pharmacies to one pre-pandemic, it was always going to be difficult, and the strain has shown. Braunton needs either another pharmacy or a considerably larger site than it has at present,” she said.
Pharmacy minister Maria Caulfield told Ms Saxby “that more can be done to better utilise the skills of community pharmacy teams” but pointed to the five-year community pharmacy contractual framework and the increase in the number of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working in general practice, urgent care and care homes as evidence of the government’s investment in pharmacy.
“This will help to embed pharmacy skills across the system and promote more collaborative and joined-up working in primary care,” Ms Caulfield said.
Yesterday Health Education England published a report indicating that the number of vacancies for community pharmacists may have doubled in the last four years.