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Cuts to Medical Funding: The Hardest Hit

Published by jeffnev in the blog jeffnev's blog. Views: 456

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Source: Chiconcuac Hospital

Ongoing cuts by the Department of Health has put many aspects of our healthcare system at risk in the UK. The DoH’s relationship with the wider community of medical professionals has become increasingly frayed over the past few years, with a continued standoff regarding junior doctors still raging and drawing attention from many of the department’s less popular policies.

Funding to the NHS is one of the biggest points of contention, as many argue that ongoing cuts to these services severely undermine the ability of the NHS to perform effectively. There’s been no precedent for the ongoing changes to the NHS, and many aspects of health provider are being altered without and justifiable cause. You’d think cuts to our nationwide healthcare would be the last place you’d want to start, but the DoH is standing firmly behind its cuts.

Another area that will be severely affected is pharmaceutical enterprise. Pharmacies around the country, the majority of which serve at a local level, are at risk of losing the majority of their funding which averages at around £250,000 a year, mainly collated through the NHS. With the government now planning to remove this powers of funding, most national pharmacies have a giant hole in their operating costs and currently no way to fill it. This is expected to have a big impact on many aspects of our pharmacy services, including effective distribution and storage, as well as put a dent into the operations of pharmacy wholesalers.

This would also put a severe strain on GP’s, who are most likely to pick up the bear of the brunt when patients are unable to go to a local pharmacist for a medical opinion. Nonetheless, the overall costs of the cuts are approaching the £170 million mark, making it one of the largest potential savings across the entirety of the NHS. The closure of these community pharmacies will obviously have the biggest impact at a community level, driving more people to visit their GP ultimately.

The problem here is that GP’s are already hard pressed with an ongoing and increasing number of patients each year. Taking funding from pharmacies is only going to exasperate this problem. To make matters worse, the majority of the proposed cuts will have the biggest impact in more depraved areas, as these are seen as providing little value, yet commonly have the highest density of pharmacies. More vulnerable people should obviously have better access to these services, and cutting them drastically will also have an untold effect on patients.

According to the BBC, around 80 – 90% of high street pharmacy funding comes from the NHS. The plans to cut this would put the overall amount of funding at around £2.6 billion in 2017, with plans to slowly approach this number over the course of 2016 via incremental cuts to local services.

The number of pharmacies has grown by a fifth over the last decade and a half for a reason. We need these services in order to keep the balance of the NHS. Without it, and with regular cuts being made to local pharmacy provisions, we can expect a large shift in the landscape of our national health service.
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