Nearly one in five (18%) UK adults have seen at least one local pharmacy shut in the last twelve months, according to a recent survey by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) and YouGov.

And 6% said they had seen more than one pharmacy close locally.

In the online poll of 2,183 UK adults surveyed between 18-19 June 2024, 13% reported that their local pharmacy had cut its opening hours over the last 12 months.

The survey, which was weighted to be representative of all UK adults, indicated that 83% of people would be concerned about their local pharmacy closing.

This figure was higher among over 65s, where 88% would be concerned, compared to 77% 18–24-year-olds.

The survey also reflected high rates of pharmacy use, with 79% of people polled saying they had visited their pharmacy at least once in the last year.

Paul Rees, chief executive of the NPA, said pharmacies were ‘closing at a record rate, and millions of people are seeing the effect of that in their communities’.

‘We must do all we can to address the continuing crisis engulfing pharmacies, which is forcing alarming numbers to close or reduce their opening hours, as this polling reveals,’ he added.

‘It is also, in part, driving the current medicines shortages crisis.

‘If the next government wants to cut GP waiting times – and free up GPs to see patients with more serious conditions – it needs to invest in community pharmacy.’

This poll follows a recent NPA analysis that suggested almost two-thirds of pharmacies in England have decreased their opening hours since 2015.

A day of action organised last month by the NPA involved thousands of community pharmacy teams. Staff wore black, turned off the lights and engaged with patients.

A cross-sector petition to ‘save’ community pharmacies has also reached over 100,000 signatures.

The Pharmacist recently mapped pharmacy closures across England over the last five years. Our analysis suggested that the most deprived areas in England have lost nearly five times as many community pharmacy premises as the least deprived areas, which could be exacerbating digital divides.