Pharmacies could close
High inflation and lack of funding from the National Health Service (NHS) could lead to the closure of thousands of pharmacies in the UK over the next two years. This was reported by The Times on Tuesday.
"The cumulative effect of inflation could mean that several thousand pharmacies will soon be forced to close. A major reduction in the number of pharmacies would disrupt the supply of drugs by the National Health Service and affect the prospects for expanding outpatient medical services," it said.
The paper stresses that the crisis situation in the industry is the result of a "decade of reductions" in the number of NHS contracts with pharmacies and a refusal to increase funding in line with the rate of inflation.
It is pointed out that around 600 retail pharmacies in England, home to 85% of the UK's population, have closed since 2018, which is 5% of the total. Against the backdrop of the current economic crisis, a number of pharmacies have already withdrawn certain services, such as home delivery.
According to The Times, the situation calls into question the British government's programme to increase the role of pharmacies in the health system in light of the chronic problems of the National Health Service (NHS).
Last week, the deputy prime minister and head of the NHS, Thérèse Anne Coffey, announced that the authorities would give pharmacies the power to prescribe certain drugs, such as contraceptive pills, themselves. According to the government, such measures would reduce the workload of general practitioners in the public sector.
In March, the Centre for Economic and Business Research, based in London, published a report warning that Britain was at risk of the biggest drop in living standards since the 1950s due to the crisis in energy markets in Europe.
According to official figures, inflation in the kingdom stood at an annual rate of 9.9% in August. According to the Bank of England's latest estimates, the country's inflation rate could reach 11% in the autumn.