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Volume 959: debated on Monday 4 December 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many pharmacies closed in the last six months for which figures are available: how many opened; how qualified and unqualified staff were involved; and how these figures compare with the same months in the previous year.

Returns which family practitioner committees have made to my Department indicate that, from 1st April to 30th September 1978, 103 pharmacies on NHS pharmaceutical lists in England closed and 47 opened: there were also 27 changes of address. Family practitioner committee statistics are not available for the same period in 1977, but, according to the records of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, 140 pharmacies on the register in England closed and 61 opened between April and September 1977. These figures, however, include changes of address.I regret that information on the staff involved in these pharmacy openings and closures is not available.