A would-be councillor is aiming to help secure the future of South Tyneside’s village pharmacies.
David Townsley, a Labour candidate standing for the Cleadon and East Boldon ward in next month’s elections, is informing residents about proposed Government cuts which may cause problems for chemists.
Last December, the Department of Health wrote to the the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee to impose a 6% cut in community pharmacy funding.
Mr Townsley is now hoping people will sign an online petition against the move to help protect the pharmacies in the two villages he hopes to represent.
If it gathers 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in Parliament.
He said: “The Government itself has warned that between 1,000 and 3,000 out of 11,674 community pharmacies could close under its planned cuts.
“This is the kind of issue that deeply matters to people, where thoughtless and heartless government action can have a damaging effect on people’s lives and of those of their parents and grandparents.
“Not only would closure mean real hardship for some who might be reluctant – or unable – to travel further afield, it would also put added pressure on other NHS services, so it’s a false economy.”
Mr Townsley is campaigning with Steven Gill, who owns the Village Pharmacy, in Cleadon, and with staff from East Boldon Village Pharmacy.
Mr Gill said: “Funding cuts will make some pharmacies simply unviable. This will have a devastating effect, especially on small village and estate communities, where the only primary health care provision is a pharmacy.
“Patients rely on these pharmacies for not only prescriptions, but regular healthcare advice.”