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Make use of your local pharmacy this winter says MP

Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson urged residents to take advantage of the services on offer at their local pharmacy over the coming winter months.

The MP said community pharmacies played a vital role in easing pressure on frontline NHS services.

Mr Esterson said Government cuts of £170m to pharmacies’ funding were threatening to cost more than they save.

He said: “Our community pharmacies deliver £3bn of benefit to our economy every year through the range of services they provide which reduce pressure on GPs.

Pharmacies can give medical advice to patients and write prescriptions for some medicines through the minor ailments scheme.

“Despite funding cuts by the Conservatives and LibDems, our community pharmacies continue to do a great job looking after us. They are much more than just a prescription service.”

A PricewaterhouseCoopers report commissioned by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) recently showed that community pharmacies deliver more in benefits than they receive in funding.

Pharmacies made more than 150 million interventions in 2015 and there was a benefit to the economy of more than £250,000 per pharmacy or £54.61 for every resident in England.

Pharmacies saved the NHS £1.3bn through cost efficiencies and avoided NHS treatment costs.

Public sector bodies such as local authorities benefited to the tune of more than £1 billion through increased output, avoided deaths and reduced pressure on other services such as social care and justice.

Patients saved around £600 million, mainly due to reducing travel time compared to alternative NHS settings.

The expected amount of public sector spending saved offsets the entire public funding provided for community pharmacy in 2015.

Mr Esterson added: “This report demonstrates the value of community pharmacy at a crucial time. Any proposed changes must be robustly considered and the cost impact on wider society taken into account. Cuts must not cost more than they save, or everyone loses out: pharmacies, the NHS and patients.”

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