Recently, I have been contacted by numerous people about the closure or high demand on local pharmacies. The praise that they have offered for the staff of the pharmacies has been overwhelming, and it is clear that these pharmacies will be deeply missed by the communities that they serve when they close.

In Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, there are now 22 pharmacies ,which process over 7,500 prescriptions every month for patients – but pharmacies do much more than just provide medication. They offer support, advice on medication, blood pressure checks, weight management, screening and much, much more.

Local pharmacies provide support to our most vulnerable citizens and are an essential part of our health service, their work is more important now than ever. Unfortunately, the problems they are facing stems from systematic under-resourcing of primary care over the last 10 years, where demand has increasingly outstripped resource and funding.

Boots announcing that they would close their pharmacies across our city, including four in Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, was a hammer blow to a number of our local communities. These pharmacies reach some of the most deprived parts of the city and more than 250 people got in touch with me to express their disappointment that these valuable community assets would be lost.

I believe that these services are vital to our community and I have met with pharmacy providers in the city to discuss these challenges and what more government can do to ensure pharmacies are supported.

I want to make sure we are pursuing every option to put pressure on Boots and therefore I have asked for permission to present a parliamentary petition to request that the House of Commons support me in opposing the closure of pharmacies on Claremont Street, Eggbuckland Road, Cattedown Road and Salisbury Road, in Plymouth –  and that, when they close, NHS Devon support the opening of new pharmacy providers for these areas.

I believe it is the responsible thing to do to plan for the future and ensure pharmacy services are secured for the long term.

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