THE OWNERS of an under-threat NHS Coventry pharmacy have been forced to spend £91,000 of their life savings on prescriptions to keep it afloat after heavy funding cuts.
Mother and daughter team Nisha and Indy Kaur, 28 and 65, said the money they get from the government has fallen by 85 per cent in just three years.
In 2016 their business The Stoney Stanton Pharmacy – which is entirely funded by the NHS – was almost £200,000 per year better off, they say.
Even then Nisha and Indy claim they were only just breaking even with enough cash left over to pay for bills and staff wages.
But since then the rising cost of medicine, scrapped government fees and budget cuts have forced them to dip into their savings.
There is currently a £13,000 shortfall between the money they receive from the government and the amount it costs them to run the business.
Since June 2017 around 165 pharmacies have closed across the UK due to dwindling government support.
In 2016, the government’s department for health took the decision to reduce funding for community pharmacies in a bid to save more than £200million.
The body which represents community pharmacies, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, has warned of further closures.
Nisha said: “We feel broken.
“It’s very possible that we will have to close down within a month or two.
“This month (December) is the last time we can use our savings.
“It’s not a viable pharmacy business anymore.
“It’s a real possibility that we have no money to keep going. We shouldn’t have to pay out of our own pockets.
“If we shut down, what will happen to our patients?
“We are prescribing more drugs but getting less money for doing so.”
The Kaurs currently dispense around 7,000 medicines a month, which is 100 more than in 2016.
The pair says the coffers are now empty and if the pharmacy closes, 6,000 monthly patients could be left without local support.
The mother and daughter team say they are working 12 hours a day, without pay, in order to sustain a service.
Nisha explained how it is looking increasingly likely the pharmacy may have to slash home deliveries to buy more time.
NHS chiefs have claimed good things can come as a result of the cuts, such as the growth of the 111 phone referral service.
It is hoped the cuts would eventually enable all GP surgeries to have a pharmacist on site in the future.