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Swings in margin adjustments are wreaking havoc, says Rowlands chief

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Swings in margin adjustments are wreaking havoc, says Rowlands chief

The Rowlands Pharmacy managing director Nigel Swift has warned quarterly clawbacks which will hit contractors from this month will exacerbate their “unpredictable’ and “complicated” financial stability and make it harder for them to run their pharmacies as the start date for the launch of Pharmacy First looms.

Contractors face a reduction of £38 million in reimbursement in the first quarter of this year and there will be an overall reduction to reimbursement of about £35 million per quarter on like-for-like Category M lines.

Insisting “enough is enough,” Swift (pictured) said: “The quarterly margin adjustments which we are experiencing in January are a clear demonstration the system is simply not working. How can you operate a business successfully and offer essential services to patients and the NHS when your financial stability is uncertain, unpredictable and so complicated it would have given Einstein a headache?”

He said the cost increases contractors are enduring are “not reflected in core funding for the English pharmacy contract” as Community Pharmacy England prepares for talks with the government on the 2024-25 community pharmacy contractual framework.

“You do not need to be a Nobel Prize winner in economics to see the system is broken,” Swift said, citing a recent analysis by the Company Chemists’ Association that showed eight pharmacies in England are closing each week.

“Surely that should be a cause for alarm for the government as it seeks to implement Pharmacy First. A contracting network means less patient access and additional strains on other parts of the NHS,” he added.

Swift warned pharmacies dispensing at a loss “has become more commonplace than was ever expected” because of “volatile” market pricing while quarterly margin adjustments have “become part of the problem.”

“Massive unpredictable tsunami swings in margin adjustments wreak havoc on pharmacy cash flows,” he said, insisting Numark is supporting its members “with new propositions which increase margin and profitability.”

He said community pharmacy needs “a new government funding mechanism…which is easy to understand” and “delivers sufficient and sustained funding.” Swift also urged the government “to deliver on supervision regulation reform.”

“They need to join the dots to unleash the potential of community pharmacy to deliver better patient care on behalf of the NHS. That cannot be achieved through the current remuneration system,” he said.

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