A BOLTON MP has urged residents to get behind local pharmacies as they face possible closure.

Yasmin Qureshi, MP for Bolton South East, believes planned Government cuts to community pharmacies "threatens patient care and safety."

The Department of Health is proposing to cut the funding community pharmacies receive by £170 million, with the cash diverted to online suppliers.

The plan is to modernise the service and break up pharmacies that are found in clusters, but it is feared the move could see up to 3,000 pharmacies close down.

Ms Qureshi is urging residents to offer support to their local pharmacy before consultation closes at the end of the month.

She said: “Cutting funding for community pharmacies threatens patient care and safety and that’s why I’m lobbying for an impact assessment of the proposals to be carried out as a matter of urgency.

"We need to get behind our local pharmacies because if these proposals are pushed through the most vulnerable will bare the brunt, yet again.”

More than 8,000 patients across Bolton access community pharmacies daily and last year pharmacies in the borough dispensed more than five million prescriptions, according to the Bolton Local Pharmaceutical Committee.

Louise Gatley, Chief Officer of Bolton LPC, said: “Local Community Pharmacies help people stay well, get the most benefit from their medicines and manage their health. Pharmacies are at the heart of communities and they have the most regular contact with their patients which puts them in the position to identify when a patient’s condition is deteriorating.”

The Government are consulting with organisations about its plans until the end of the month.