Chancellor Philip Hammond has today (Monday 29 October) delivered his 2018 budget, describing it as bringing an end to the “age of austerity”.
Some key points from today’s budget announcement:
In June of this year, prime minister Theresa May announced there would be a £20bn increase in NHS funding between 2018 and 2023. While there will need to be an emergency Brexit budget should the UK leave the EU without a deal in March 2019, today health secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC that the NHS money is to be ring-fenced “irrespective of the deal” or lack thereof.
It is not yet clear whether any portion of this additional funding will go towards the community pharmacy sector. The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee recently agreed on a 2018-19 funding settlement with the Department of Health and Social Care and says it has told DHSC it wishes to begin 2019-20 talks "as early as possible".
Royal Pharmaceutical Society England board chair Sandra Gidley said: "With additional funding already announced for the health service, the key question is how this will be allocated to implement the NHS Long-Term Plan.
"Supporting public health and prevention, investing in education and training, and ensuring patients and the NHS receive the most benefit from medicines must be prioritised.
"Community pharmacy owners may welcome future support around business rates, but will no doubt be looking for further progress to make the most of the community pharmacy network to improve patient care.
“Additional investment in mental health is welcome but this should also be targeted at support for people before they reach crisis point. As the third largest health profession, pharmacists working across the NHS can play a key role in closing the gap between people’s physical and mental health."