Uncertain future for only remaining pharmacy in Southwold
- Credit: Nick Butcher
The long term future of the only remaining pharmacy in a coastal town is in jeopardy following the introduction of a scheme by the Department of Health.
For 33 years Queen Street Pharmacy has provided a service to the community of Southwold.
However, the owners fear the implementation of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) and resulting funding cuts will see the closure of the family-run chemist.
The CPCF is a contractual framework for community pharmacies covering essential services including dispensing, promotion of healthy lifestyle and health guidance.
A Pharmacy Access Scheme (PhAS) has been established to offer protection to pharmacies necessary to providing adequate access to pharmacy services.
Qualifying pharmacies will receive an average monthly payment of £2,900 protecting them from the full funding reduction of an average 7.5pc after April 2017.
Jane Patel, 57, co-owner of the pharmacy with business partner Bharat Patel, said: 'We did not qualify for the PhAS as the list of eligible pharmacies was set on September 1 and to qualify you needed to be more than one mile away from nearest pharmacy and at the time Howells & Jolley Pharmacy was still open in the High Street.'
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As a result, the chemist is set to miss out on between £20,000 and £30,000 in funding over the next 16 months.
The duo has appealed the decision on the grounds of inaccuracy - due to Howells & Jolley Pharmacy surrendering its pharmacy licence in October 2016.
Ms Patel added: 'We are fully committed to staying here but when the time comes for Bharat and I to retire, that is when there will be an issue as somebody new would be coming in and would have to deal with the impact of these cuts.
'We are a customer business and have elderly customers who would struggle to access pharmacy services if we were not here.'
An NHS England spokesperson said: 'Details about this scheme were first published by the Department of Health in October last year, the criteria for pharmacies to receive funding were very clearly laid out and there is a review process to allow for consideration of extenuating circumstances.'