Community pharmacies provide the most essential service for local people, according to a survey by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).

The 2024 Community Barometer report surveyed 2,000 UK adults about their reliance on a range of services including convenience stores, pharmacies, post offices and banks.

As well as topping the list for essential services, pharmacies ranked second – below post offices – among the services offering the most positive impact on local areas.

When asked which service they most wanted to see on the high street, respondents ranked pharmacies in fifth place, with banks placed highest. Pharmacies were ranked seventh out of 10 in importance for supporting the local economy, with convenience stores ranked highest.

Paul Rees, chief executive of the National Pharmacy Association, said the findings were ‘a timely reminder that pharmacies are a local lifeline, which enrich communities across the country and provide vital healthcare for millions of people’.

However, he also highlighted the closure of more than 1,000 pharmacies over the last decade, which he said was due to ‘chronic government underfunding’.

Mr Rees commented: ‘Each closure represents a sad loss to the community it serves and leaves a gaping hole in the high street.

‘The government needs to invest to maintain the pharmacy network and help pharmacies play a significant part in reducing GP and hospital waiting times.’

Our recent analysis mapped out the scale of pharmacy closures across England in the last five years and found closures were almost five times higher in more deprived areas.