This site is intended for Healthcare Professionals only

CPE calls for contract overhaul at Pharmacy Inquiry

Business news

CPE calls for contract overhaul at Pharmacy Inquiry

A call for the overhaul of the pharmacy contract framework and removal of the “ironclad ring fence around funding” was made by Community Pharmacy England chief executive Janet Morrison on Monday when she gave evidence to the Parliamentary Health and Social Care Select Committee’s pharmacy inquiry.

Any new contract should offer sustainability and some indexation to take account of increased activity and inflationary pressures, she said. It should also reduce the risk of caps and clawbacks, and offer simplicity and transparency.

There had been informal discussions with the Department of Health, Ms Morrison said, but no formal talks on a new contract framework were planned. She added that CPE had only recently received a letter from the Department to start pay negotiations for the coming year.

Committee chair Steve Brine was warned that patients will continue to face problems accessing medicines unless government both eases supply problems in the UK, and resolves the critical financial state of community pharmacies.

Asked for short term recommendations, Mike Dent, CPE’s director of pharmacy funding, who also gave evidence, said the funding gap must be closed – pharmacies have been subject to a 30 per cent funding cut since 2013.

To relieve financial pressures he also called for a write-off of accrued margin clawback and a review of the supply chain and retained margin.

Commenting after the hearing, Ms Morrison said: “The inquiry comes at a critical time for community pharmacy. With the recent launch of Pharmacy First, pharmacies are providing ever more for the public, but a combination of the ongoing financial squeeze, operational pressures, and medicines supply issues has left businesses fighting for survival.”

The Health Committee’s recommendations following the Pharmacy Inquiry will be important for the future of the sector, she said. Ms Morrison and Mr Dent gave evidence on 19 February, following a written response submitted last year.

Pharmacy owners regularly rank medicines market instability – relating to both supply and pricing issues – as one of the most severe pressures

The Health Committee is inviting any pharmacist who wishes to participate directly in its Pharmacy Inquiry to a special event in Westminster on 5 March (4-5.30pm).

This is billed as “an informal, private discussion with members of the Committee around your daily work, what you want your role to look like in the future and what support you think the Government should be giving to the pharmacy sector”.

Anyone wishing to attend is asked to express their interest by sending their details (including pharmacy role and membership of any pharmacy organisations) to by 23 February.

Copy Link copy link button

Business news