Numark has urged the Government to support community pharmacies as they help fight the coronavirus outbreak by dipping into the £12 billion it has committed to the NHS to combat the disease.
In the wake of the PSNC's call for more money to help pharmacies avoid closure as the virus continues to spread, Numark warned that while the sector will “do all it can to continue providing essential healthcare at the heart of local communities,” there was “a very real risk some will not have the financial resources to do so.”
As coronavirus spreads, Numark fears community pharmacies will not have the resources they need to stay open. The pandemic, it said, could be the “death knell” for pharmacies.
“We are genuinely facing a funding crisis. The additional requirements are not insignificant; manage redeployment of staff dealing with potentially infected patients, equip with a patient support pack, review incident management and business continuity plans, fund the necessary requirements of decontamination, prepare and publish patient facing communication – the task list continues,” Numark said in a statement.
“If a pharmacy has to decontaminate, it’s strongly advised to temporarily close during that process. If a key member of staff becomes infected, some pharmacies may even have to close, causing further suffering.
“We must not underestimate the impact of this. The additional costs of business could be significant and ultimately could be the death knell for some community pharmacies already on their knees as a result of continued and consistent funding pressures.”
Numark, however, said the government's “clear detailed plan” for community pharmacies in dealing with an increase in COVID-19 cases coupled with coronavirus kits being distributed to pharmacy teams across England and Wales was evidence of “the value the government places on community pharmacy and the role we play in the wider healthcare infrastructure.”
Numark added: "Enough is enough, we call upon the government to recognise the value and commitment of community pharmacy and fund it accordingly, in the short term from the additional £12 billion pledged to the NHS to support coronavirus, but also long into the future to ensure an adequately funded, economically sustainable pharmacy network."