Alliance Party Health Spokesperson Paula Bradshaw has said the Department of Health's announcement of £11.1m of additional funding for community pharmacy is a step in the right direction, but still well short of what is required.
The South Belfast MLA stated: "It is extremely concerning that the funding package for community pharmacies is still clearly well short of what is required. The extra money will provide a stop gap in some areas, but in the medium to long term will still mean a significant reduced service to the public with the serious risk of disruption of medicine supply.
"With leading political parties also now pushing for a 'no deal' Brexit which would also cause significant risk to the import of vital medicines, the outlook remains bleak.
"It is clear that resolution of this issue cannot be left to administrators working on limited Departmental budgets. What is required is for the parties with the biggest mandates to accept that they come with the biggest responsibilities, to act to restore some faith in devolved institutions and add resources to our Health Service while at the same time wising up to the risks to public health of the UK opting to leave the EU with no arrangements in place for recruiting workers and importing vital medicines from April.
"Despite the difficult conditions being foist upon us by the decisions of others, I will continue to work with the representatives of community pharmacies to find ways through to ensure a much more adequate funding package is forthcoming."