The public petition to save local community pharmacy in Northern Ireland, which closed on July 9, has attracted over 120,000 signatures.
Community Pharmacy NI says that the Department of Health can no longer ignore the number of patients and organisations now involved in the campaign.
The petition, which had 75,000 signatures at the beginning of the month, received a late boost from patients after a final push from local pharmacists.
The senior leadership from Community Pharmacy NI travelled to London in mid-July to meet with the Northern Ireland Secretary of State to highlight prolonged government underfunding, additional funding cuts made in 2017/18 and to explain why the current funding model which sees many medicines dispensed at a loss, is inappropriate.
Prior to the collapse of the NI Assembly, the last Health Minister, Michelle O’Neill, outlined a commitment to continue to develop and resource community pharmacy-based initiatives over the next 10 years. However, this is now in jeopardy due to the fact that the Department of Health is underfunding the cost of providing community pharmacy services by at least £20 million.