They may well be cutting the money on pharmacy spending, that doesn't mean the NHS budget has been cut if that money has been shifted to other parts of the NHS. Where is that £170m going? To fund stuff like hand transplants? Or to buy Tory donors more kittens to kick?
My town doesn't need 5 pharmacies within spitting distance of each other. There's not 5 McDonald's or 5 Kwik Fits in the same area.
Or do you think the different departments have the NHS should have exactly the same proportion of funding they always have?
You do know what an "efficiency saving" is, don't you?
Paragraph 1: Yes, it is a cut. The DoH is reducing the budget by this amount as an "efficiency saving". What part of reducing the money they're paying don't you get? Also, the deficits that are being covered are being transferred into loans that the trusts have to pay back, it's certainly not going to help with that.
Paragraphs 2 and 3: The NHS is transferring significant clinical responsibilities to pharmacists, including diagnostic stuff that used to be the remit of the GPs and then NHS Direct. The coalition government, with the same people in charge, in their wisdom disposed of NHS Direct and replaced it with 111 meaning a source of clinician-led diagnosis disappeared, the load from that then transferred to GPs and A&E, precisely the places from which NHS Direct was set up to help alleviate pressure. Pharmacists have had lots of effort put into helping them deal with this added clinical load, for which they're getting no extra funding, including many charities helping them. They're also getting access to the summary care record system to allow them to tailor advice to the patient's clinical records and reduce the chances of critical error. NOW, the government are cutting that as well, pharmacists are expected to do with substantially less money AND deliver far more diagnostic services; the government have admitted that 1000-3000 pharmacies will disappear because of the funding cuts meaning it'll be the big chains left where you'll have to discuss your intimate clinical details with someone who is simply there as a pharmaceutical sales assistant. Boots makes no money from giving advice, they make money from shifting produce and churning through prescriptions, there's nothing in it for them to comply with the government's appeals for them to do more diagnostic advice, especially when the income per-patient is being cut quite substantially for prescriptions.
Paragraph 4: You really don't get why very few people like you and you provoke intense reactions from many people, do you? I know what efficiency savings are, I've been given my cost improvement plan for 2016/17 for my sizeable NHS service, I'm expected to make decent sized cuts in my budget while also being given a rather silly large growth target. So, being asked to cut my service while also grow it. That's the sort of idiot thinking that died in private practice in the 1980s. You can grow your service with a static budget with good management or you can cut your budget with static growth, again with good management, but both growing and cutting your service at the same time is brain-dead idiocy, especially in an organisation that's been pared to the bone over the last five years. Remember, this is my first NHS gig, I cut my teeth in the hardest nosed city professional services environments and none of those companies would ever think that the idiot thinking from the government would be sustainable in anything other than an exceptionally difficult single year.