All the latest reaction from pharmacy leaders

Ian Strachan, Chairman of the National Pharmacy Association

The Government’s approach shows a complete disregard for the community pharmacy sector and the wellbeing of patients.

This is slap in the face for hardworking pharmacy teams and for concerned patients.

It is abundantly clear that the current policy approach is flawed and universally unpopular. Yet elements within government seem determined to press ahead with this damaging experiment, deaf to the nationwide protests.

It is clear that they believe there are too many pharmacies and want closures.

In the long run, thousands are at risk, unless there is a change of mindset and a change of direction amongst ministers and officials

What concerns us most is the idea that still exists in parts of government and NHS which views pharmacy as merely a distribution point for medicines.

Local pharmacies are so much more than that – they are a vital health and social care asset at the heart of communities.

The Minister’s statement to MPs today that services will improve as a result of these massive cuts flies in the face of logic.

The Government has said it wants to see pharmacies do more in urgent care and long-term conditions – now they must prove that they mean it, by changing course and investing in the sector for the long term.

Vaughan Gething, Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport

Since 2005, the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework has been agreed on an England and Wales basis. I therefore understand the cuts in England are of concern for pharmacy contractors in Wales.

Let me reassure you, the health and social services budget in Wales for the current and next financial year does not include any proposals to reduce investment in community pharmacy.

In the longer term, maintaining the current level of investment will be conditional on new arrangements for community pharmacies.

New arrangements must ensure that community pharmacies: provide a greater range of clinically focused services; demonstrate a commitment to improving service quality; contribute to reducing medicines waste; utilise skill mix and automation more effectively to release time for pharmacists to deliver pharmaceutical care, both in and out of the pharmacy; and commit to workforce development and improvements in IT infrastructure.

Julie Cooper, MP for Burnley, Shadow Health Secretary, former pharmacy owner

As the owner of an independent community pharmacy in Burnley for 24 years until 2010, I understand the importance of pharmacies. I am horrified at the government’s plans for the community pharmacy budget.

The plans are ill thought out and will certainly result in more costs for the NHS in the end. I can’t believe this programme is going to be introduced without any risk or impact assessment being done.

We’re already seeing redundancies and shorter hours at pharmacies under the current funding. We will see more pharmacies forced to close as a result of this. No doubt about it. The communities will be the ones to lose out.

The government hasn’t been listening. There has been no proper dialogue during the consultation. They need to take the time to speak genuinely with pharmacists.

Community pharmacists, when they are allowed to do their work, are well placed to be effective in keeping people out of hospital and lessening the burden on other resources.

Dr Keith Ridge, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England

The public can be reassured that while efficiencies are being asked of community pharmacy just as they are of other parts of the NHS, there is still sufficient funding to ensure there are accessible and convenient local NHS pharmacy services across England.

The NHS is committed to a positive future for pharmacists and community pharmacy.

The NHS will support community pharmacy to develop new clinical pharmacy services, working practices and online support to meet the public’s expectations for a modern NHS.