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Alarm raised on ‘significant’ energy bill hike for pharmacies

Pharmacy News

Alarm raised on ‘significant’ energy bill hike for pharmacies

By Arthur Walsh

The PSNC has issued a fresh plea to the Government for financial support amid concerns over rising energy bills.

In a statement earlier today (August 31), the negotiator said it was “extremely concerned” about the financial situation faced by large numbers of pharmacies, adding that rising utility bills “will only make this worse, particularly as the price cap doesn’t apply to businesses”.

“Many contractors are now bracing themselves for significant rises in their energy bills,” said the PSNC.

“We have been pressing this point in negotiations with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England,” it said, adding that the completion of funding talks has been “put on hold” by the Conservative Party’s leadership election.

PSNC chief Janet Morrison said: “It pains me to say that the financial outlook for many community pharmacies is dire, with as many as 80 per cent of contractors already reporting significantly increased operating costs at the start of 2022.

“Inflationary pressures and rising costs are a key part of PSNC’s case to Government about the urgent need for extra funding for community pharmacies.

“We have been clear the Government must protect these vital healthcare providers from economic pressures that are outside of their control to maintain public access to pharmaceutical care.

“Rest assured, we will continue to urge Government and the NHS to urgently address the desperate situation that the sector now finds itself in.”

Public support changes to ‘unfair’ pharmacy funding

Meanwhile, a recent survey from the National Pharmacy Association has found that three quarters of adults in England believe pharmacies are not fairly compensated for the services they provide, with 81 per cent saying it is unfair that pharmacies are paid less than they were before the Covid-19 pandemic.

NPA chair Andrew Lane said: “The public, with its collective sense of fair play, can see there is no natural justice in the current funding arrangements, which are strangling pharmacy finances and threaten thousands of family-owned businesses with closure. 

“It’s not just the overall under-investment that is the problem, although that by itself is crippling. 

“Contractual mechanisms based on averages and reconciled retrospectively make effective planning difficult and especially disadvantage smaller pharmacy businesses. The system is inherently unfair and needs urgent reform.”

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