CPCF response: Pharmacists 'demoralised' by frozen funding
There has been a mixed response from pharmacy’s representative bodies to the terms of the third year of the community pharmacy contractual framework, announced on Monday.
Year 3 of the CPCF will see a major expansion of the New Medicine Service to cover more conditions, while a new hypertension case finding service is receiving national media attention. Meanwhile, transitional payments are to be extended by another year.
However, the Treasury refused the PSNC’s persistent appeals for an uplift to the £2.592 annual global sum, a decision the negotiator has warned could exacerbate financial tensions in many pharmacies in England.
Responding to the deal, Royal Pharmaceutical Society England board chair Thorrun Govind said that while it showed “positive steps” towards creating clinical roles, pharmacists “will understandably be demoralised” by the Government’s refusal to increase core funding.
Ms Govind called for recognition of the role pharmacists have played during the pandemic, as well as clarity on funding for independent prescriber training.
Meanwhile, National Pharmacy Association chair Andrew Lane said research carried out by EY for the NPA in 2020 had shown that the terms of the current funding agreement could force up to three quarters of family-owned pharmacies to close by 2024.
“These new funding arrangements do not address the fact that 72 percent of pharmacies in England are forecast to be loss-making within four years,” he said, adding that the NPA was disappointed there is “no new support” to help pharmacists engage with primary care networks.
Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, said that with costs rising "this is yet another decrease in funding so let's please call it that".
She said AIMp has raised concerns with NHS England "about the ongoing lack of a level playing field for community pharmacy as GPs get funding to recruit pharmacists to GP practices".
Phoenix MD: 'Unfathomable'
Phoenix managing director Jeremy Meader said: “It’s unfathomable that the Government has widely acknowledged the importance of community pharmacy in delivering improved health outcomes, yet refuses to recognise this through increased investment”.
“The new hypertension service is welcome, yet it is the tip of the iceberg in terms of what pharmacy can offer as a local, valued healthcare hub preventing ill heath from arising in the first instance and providing the professional support which those with chronic conditions need.”
The Government “perpetually continues to reject the obvious case for investment in the third pillar of healthcare provision,” said Mr Meader.
Malcolm Harrison, chief executive of the Company Chemists’ Association, said: “The refusal to increase the funding available for pharmacies to deliver NHS services is compounded by the fact that any efficiency gains promied as part of the five-year deal have not yet materialsied.
“We fully support PSNC’s commitment to pursue an uplift to the global sum as we see out the current five-year deak.
“There are still some key elements to be agreed within the remaining two yearsof the five-year settlement. We look forward to working with our colleagues from across the sector, through the PSNC, to help develop how these remaining matters, such as potential legislative reforms, are implemented.”