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Only ONE pharmacy across Cambridgeshire now opens 100 hours a week

Only Boots UK Ltd at The Bretton Centre Peterborough offers 100 hours a week pharmacy services

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Fourteen of the 15 pharmacies across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough that provided 100 hours of opening each week just two years ago have cut their opening hours. Only one pharmacy across all of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has stuck to offering 100 hours of opening each week.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Health and Wellbeing board will be told today that all bar the one have taken advantage of new NHS regulations which allowed them to reduce contracted opening hours of 100 to not less than 72 per week.

The new regulations came into force in May 2023, resulting in only one pharmacy – Boots UK Ltd at The Bretton Centre Peterborough – sticking with 100 hours a week.

Two have reduced to 79 hours a week, four to 78 hours, four to 72 hours and four have ceased trading.

The board will also hear of those – such as Lloyds who have pulled out of Sainsbury’s -and other community pharmacies that have been removed from the pharmaceutical list.

Drugs1: The above community pharmacies have been removed from the pharmaceutical list and have ceased to provide pharmaceutical services.

The above community pharmacies have been removed from the pharmaceutical list and have ceased to provide pharmaceutical services.

Members will be assured that “Cambridgeshire and Peterborough still has adequate geographic provision of essential services to meet the needs of the population by providing a service for the majority of the residents within 20 minutes of their home.

“There are some pockets in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough where it is necessary to drive more than 20 minutes by car to access a pharmacy or dispensing surgery.

“These areas are to a large extent uninhabited and/or may be served by pharmaceutical services in a neighbouring health and wellbeing board area.

“However, it is recognised that not everyone has access to a car, and that those unable to access a car may be among the more vulnerable in society.

“Analysis of opening hours and trading days shows that while there is still adequate provision of access to pharmaceutical services for essential services, Monday to Friday during usual opening hours, there has been a reduction in opening hours particularly at evenings and weekends”.

Drugs 2: Shows the changes to 100 hour pharmacies opening hours.

Shows the changes to 100 hour pharmacies opening hours.

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The board has assessed the impact on closures alongside a reduction in community pharmacy opening hours.

It says that has resulted in capacity issues and challenges for treatment services.

“Drug clients who require supervised consumption or frequent medication pick up regimes are particularly affected,” it says.

“In some areas of the county there is a shortage of allocated patient spaces in pharmacies and a ‘one in one out’ regime implemented.

“This has had an impact on patients being placed at a pharmacy with a longer travel distance from their home with limited transport options. This is particularly critical situation for the rough sleeper population.”

Drugs 3: The pharmacies which have ceased trading provided the stated locally commissioned services

The pharmacies which have ceased trading provided the stated locally commissioned services

The board says the National Drug Strategy ambition is to increase the numbers of drug dependent individuals in structured treatment and both Cambridgeshire and Peterborough services have seen an increase to their treatment population at the same time as a decrease in community pharmacy capacity.

“There is a concern individuals may ‘fall off’ their medication as they struggle to get to pharmacies and therefore may return to street drugs (which increases risk factors) or that there may need to be a waiting list for OST patients in order to secure a community pharmacy space,” says the report.

“The most vulnerable patients such as rough sleepers or prison leavers are those priority patients most likely to be impacted.”

The board will be reassured though that “in summary, review of the accessibility of NHS pharmaceutical services in Cambridgeshire in terms of locations and opening hours, suggest there is adequate access.

“There appears to be good coverage in terms of opening hours across the county, however there may be issues for certain patient groups, e.g. those adults working full time who can only collect prescriptions at weekends”.

As at December 2023 in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

  • 20 (15%) community pharmacies open for the minimum 40 hours only,
  • 61 (45%) open for between 40.5 and 49.5 hours,
  • 32 (23%) open for between 50 and 59 hours,
  • 23 (17%) open between 60 and 99 hours and
  • 01 (1%) are providing 100 hours.

 

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