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CPS rejects 2023-24 pay offer from Scottish Government

Pharmacy News

CPS rejects 2023-24 pay offer from Scottish Government

Community Pharmacy Scotland has rejected a financial package for 2023/24 from the Scottish Government after an emergency meeting last week.

CPS was unhappy with both reimbursement and remuneration elements of the package. “The support for the Drug Tariff in terms of reimbursement was far below what is required to keep pharmacy businesses viable,” a spokesman said. “The uplift for the global sum was far below expectations and not in line with what has been offered to other contractor groups.”

Talks were continuing in Glasgow today (Tuesday), with CPS aiming to provide “stability for the pharmacy network”.

Scotland’s pharmacies are in serious financial trouble, says CPS. Like all businesses, their costs have increased significantly in the last year, but they are unable to pass on costs to the customer as the vast bulk of their income comes from the NHS.

“NHS income is barely covering wholesaler bills in many cases. In some cases pharmacy owners are supplying at a loss to maintain continuity of care for their patients. We know that some are borrowing just to pay their wage bills – a situation which cannot continue,” says CPS.
This is an unusual situation for pharmacy negotiators in Scotland, who for years have enjoyed a ”respectful dialogue” with the Scottish Government. CPS has been in negotiations on the 2023/24 package since September last year.

“This has largely been collaborative, however in recent months negotiations have departed from the normal process of engagement with conversations occurring in areas of government that CPS has no access to,” says CPS.

 The protracted negotiations eventually resulted in an offer for this year on 25 May. This was unanimously rejected by the CPS Board at last week's emergency meeting. “The funding package, which may be imposed, we fear, is not enough to keep services running as they have been through the pandemic and beyond.” 
Scottish pharmacies dispense around 9 million items a month, and since its launch in July 2020, the network has delivered over 5 million NHS Pharmacy First Scotland consultations. “Without proper funding, plans to develop this service further will need to be reviewed and our entire offering renegotiated based on the available resource,” says CPS.

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