NewsPulseTotnes Town

The Great Totnes Pharmicidal Absence

What’s occurring?

If you are one of those people who’ve queued for an hour outside the pharmacy at Morrisons, you might want to know what is going on.

The closure of the Boots chemist at Leatside surgery has left a huge hole in our town’s provision of pharmacists.  The Well store at the bottom of town is the only other one. Boots has  shut 300 stores nationwide.  Sainsbury’s has lost all 237  Lloyds pharmacies so no point going to Paignton, Torquay or Newton Abbot stores for medicines. Asda and Tesco are also shutting some of their pharmacies as well. Boots, which is owned by US giant Walgreen, says it is “consolidating”.

We’ve seen this before

The problem  – and it’s the same story for our NHS dentistry – is funding and staffing.
Family owned pharmacies are facing the biggest problems, as the Health and Social Care committee heard. Each one is underfunded by about  £67,000.
The community pharmacy contract is not fit for purpose, MPs were told.  The cost of drugs are rising but the funds don’t follow fast enough.
Qualified dispensary staff have been enticed into the GP surgery network away from shops and hospitals  – around 4.700 in fact since 2019.
More needs to be done to ensure all pharmacies have the staff and infrastructure needed
An additional pressure is last year’s Primary Care Recovery Plan, which aims to tackle some of the workload facing GPs  by giving pharmacists the right to prescribe for more conditions which would normally be done by doctors – like sore throats and shingles. This is the Pharmacy First approach, which began last week (Wed 31st January).
Sounds good – but as the British Medical Association pointed out, “we are acutely aware of the current lack of capacity within pharmacy itself, which may severely limit the effectiveness of the programme…. More needs to be done to ensure all pharmacies have the staff and infrastructure needed to handle the additional work, and to avoid patients being bounced back and forth between pharmacies and GP practices.”

And pharmacists are feeling the pressure.

They spend hours chasing medicines which are in short supply , like ADHT  and HRT, and an industry survey said 81% of staff are struggling with the workload.
Many are very worried about their ability to help patients.
A queue in Morrissons Pharmacy
Queueing up at Morrissons
The Government has put another £645 million into the pot to help, but meanwhile Totnes patients needing their prescriptions filled are faced with standing in a lengthy line or driving to another town to find a pharmacy.
One company doing well out of this is Pharmacy2U, an online service which liaises with GPs to deliver NHS prescriptions.  It sends out about 1.6 million a MONTH .
Staggeringly  that is only 2 per cent of all NHS prescriptions.
We need community pharmacies.  We are told to go them first to get advice, over the counter remedies and jabs so we don’t overload hospitals and GP surgeries.
But hundreds have closed – not just the big boys like Boots, but family run ones.
And back to teeth…the campaign group Toothless in England has a Devon branch.  It’s on Facebook if you want to comment on your experiences.  There are concerns that people will get into debt if they have to pay for urgent treatment.

Have an opinion – contact Totnes Pulse or comment below…

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G.Waites
G.Waites
2 months ago

Gosh ! Surely the £350 million per week, or £18,200,000,000 per annum that was just one of the so-called Brexit dividends, would have helped sort out some of the funding and staffing issues for the NHS, dentistry, and pharmacy provision………And I suppose we have now taken back control we can invite all the skilled care workers, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, that we could possibly want…..

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