Gareth Thomas MP

From Harrow, For Harrow.

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Letter from Gareth Thomas MP, Member of Parliament for Harrow West to Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health on the risks faced by community pharmacies

Dear Jeremy,

I am writing regarding the recent announcement that community pharmacies will face a 12% cut on current funding levels for the rest of this financial year, and a 7.4% cut on current levels the year after.

As you know, considerable concern has been raised by pharmacists and many of their customers and service users, about the likely impact of these cuts.

The Government’s own estimate suggests that as many as 1 in 4 pharmacies are at risk of closure as a result of these cuts. In Harrow, 15 community pharmacies will be significantly hit by this cut, based on an analysis of their dispensing rates carried out by the House of Commons Library. The Middlesex Group of LPCs have advised me that they believe a further 8 pharmacies will also be severely impacted and may be at risk of closure.

Like many of my constituents, I sometimes have cause to visit community pharmacies, and am always reminded of the valuable service they provide. Pharmacies provide very important face to face health services, particularly for the elderly, disabled and those with long term illnesses. 

Any pharmacy closures or service cutbacks will only cause extra pressure to be piled on already overstretched GP and A&E services. At a time when the Care Quality Commission have described adult social care services as being at a ‘tipping point’, with more than 1 million adults with unmet care needs, some of whom subsequently require acute care because they go without care, it beggars belief that the Government intends to cut further the services that people rely on.

A recent PwC report shows that community pharmacies contributed a net value of £3 billion to the NHS, public sector, patients and wider society in England in 2015 through just 12 services, over and above dispensing medicines. This means that community pharmacies deliver substantially more in benefits than they receive in compensation, providing excellent value to the Department of Health. Much of this additional benefit is derived from the good-will of community pharmacies to conduct services for which they are not remunerated.

Not only would the closure of pharmacies have a severe and harmful impact on my constituents who use and rely on these services, but the short term savings are likely to only increase costs in the long term given the additional pressure on other public services.

Even at this late stage, I ask you to reconsider these damaging cuts, and ensure that community pharmacies are not put at risk of closure.

Given the significant local interest and concern regarding this issue, I am releasing this letter to local media.

Yours sincerely,

 

Gareth Thomas MP 

Harrow West

Letter to Jeremy Hunt on Community Pharmacies

Letter from Gareth Thomas MP, Member of Parliament for Harrow West to Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health on the risks faced by community pharmacies Dear Jeremy, I...

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Gareth Thomas MP has joined with the members of the retail union Usdaw to call for an end to abuse in the workplace. As part of the ‘Freedom From Fear Campaign’, which seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse directed at retail staff, Usdaw members are highlighting the problems faced by staff during Respect for Shopworkers Week, which runs from 14 to 20 November.

Gareth Thomas, Labour MP for Harrow West says: "Too often retail employees are confronted with violence, threats and abuse whilst serving the public. It is really important we stand together and ask people to keep their cool and respect shopworkers, especially as we approach the busy Christmas shopping period.

"I was personally shocked to hear about the abuse that shopworkers can receive on what can be a daily basis. No one should have to go to work expecting abuse.

"I will continue to campaign with Usdaw to provide shopworkers the support they need and deserve. We must give a clear message that abusing or assaulting workers who are serving the public is totally unacceptable."

John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary says: "We are grateful to Gareth for supporting our campaign to keep our members safe at work.

"Often, in the course of their duties, shopworkers are expected to deal with tense and difficult situations. Unfortunately these can escalate to verbal abuse and assault. Over 300 shopworkers are assaulted every day and it is time to say enough is enough. Parliament has placed the legal obligation on shopworkers to enforce the law in relation to age restricted sales and Parliament must also ensure that the law also protects shopworkers who are doing their job. Politicians and members of the public must work together to ensure that shopworkers get the respect they deserve."

Gareth supports campaign to protect shopworkers from violence, threats and abuse

Gareth Thomas MP has joined with the members of the retail union Usdaw to call for an end to abuse in the workplace. As part of the ‘Freedom From Fear...

I am pleased to join Teresa Pearce, Kate Hollern and Jim McMahon in the Shadow DCLG team with responsibility for local government.

I’m keen to play my part in supporting Labour Councillors defending vital local public services from yet more funding cuts. I’m also keen to begin to explore what a new Labour vision for local government might look like; one that recognises the move, in a very British way, towards a more federal United Kingdom, which champions England’s talents in our cities, boroughs and counties, but which also gives local people more power to shape their communities in the way they think best.

New role in the Shadow DCLG Team

I am pleased to join Teresa Pearce, Kate Hollern and Jim McMahon in the Shadow DCLG team with responsibility for local government. I’m keen to play my part in supporting...


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