Lillington pharmacist is asking customers to sign petition against funding cuts for chemists

A Lillington pharmacist is encouraging his customers to sign a petition at the counter which could save small chemists nationwide.

Friday, 18th March 2016, 7:00 am

Ashni Awesti, 40, of the Lillington Pharmacy, says Government proposals to slash annual funding to chemists by £170 million - or six per cent - would mean that smaller establishments could be forced to close.

And although the chemist where he has worked for nine years is not under immediate threat, he is concerned for the future of those which serve villages and small communities.

Mr Awesti said: “These chemists aren’t just places for people to come to collect prescriptions, they are important for communities.

“People can drop in for advice and they often provide delivery services for the elderly and most vulnerable who otherwise would have to travel further to get the medication they need.

“These proposals could also lead to some pharmacists having to make redundancies and cut staff hours which would mean the workload would stay the same but the level of service they can offer could suffer.”

On average up to 90 per cent of a chemist’s income comes for the NHS.

Each chemist is given a pot of money annually depending on how many prescriptions it dispenses and additional services it provides.

Health Minister Alistair Burt has said that as many as 3,000 of the 11,600 chemists nationwide may have to shut.

Cubbington parish councillor David Saul is backing the petition and is planning to have a banner put up in the window at the Lillington Pharmacy to encourage more people to sign it.

Cllr Saul, who has recently undergone a 20-day course of radiotherapy for prostate cancer, said: “With the ever-increasing pressure on GPs and the difficulty to sometimes get an appointment, people just need somewhere where they can get a bit of help and advice. Closing chemists in small and rural communities would be a backward step.”