JULIE ELLIOTT: Pharmacies are front-line health services and should be saved

Michael Dugher questioned why pharmacies were being closed.
Michael Dugher questioned why pharmacies were being closed.
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This week saw FA chairman Greg Clarke appear before the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee – where he was asked to launch an independent inquiry into allegations of corruption within the game.

It is to be hoped that this meeting will also inspire future changes in the sport as, in my opinion, the top clubs have far too much money to spend and it is just not trickling down to others who might be struggling.

There are also woefully inadequate facilities for disabled supporters at many grounds, including Premier League ones. This is a terrible shame, as football should be accessible to everyone.

Also this week Labour MP Michael Dugher was granted an Urgent Question, demanding to know why Jeremy Hunt MP, the Secretary of State for Health, plans to cut pharmacies countrywide.

As many as eight pharmacies within my constituency are potentially at risk. These closures could begin as early as December 1 – right in the middle of flu season.

With the ever-increasing pressure on GPs and hospitals, we should be supporting pharmacies as a front-line health service, not closing them.

Many constituents have raised concerns and I’ve written to David Mowat MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health, asking the Government to protect pharmacies.

Last week, I was delighted to submit a petition from constituents supporting the WASPI campaign - Women Against State Pension Inequality.

State pensions are changing for women born on or after April 6, 1951. Around 2.6 million women – including 4,000 in Sunderland – have had their pensions delayed for six years.

These changes are causing real hardship for many women, both locally and nationally. WASPI are putting pressure on the Government to ensure that women adversely affected by these changes get a fairer deal, and I fully support this campaign.