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Pharmacists’ confidence in short-term outlook takes 15 point dip


Pharmacists’ confidence in short-term outlook takes 15 point dip

Community pharmacists are significantly less confident about the sector’s short-term outlook than they were a year ago, a Lloyds Bank survey indicates.

The 2022 Lloyds Bank Healthcare Confidence Index, which spoke to 82 pharmacists between June and September this year, shows that short-term confidence fell to 14 points from 29 in 2021 after two years of growth.

Confidence in the sector’s long-term outlook continues to fall, decreasing from -42 last year to -57 in the most recent index.

Eighty-two per cent said they expected financial pressures to increase in 2022-23, while the proportion expecting profits to increase fell from 65 per cent to 46 per cent and the proportion expecting them to decline rose from 16 per cent to 33 per cent.

With drug shortages and reimbursement issues on the rise, inflation (71 per cent of respondents) and supply chain disruption (53 per cent) were cited as major concerns.

Despite these challenges, the proportion of pharmacists who said they would recommend the profession to a friend or relative rose to 72 per cent, while 65 per cent said new developments like independent prescribing present an opportunity.

Eighty-six per cent of respondents said sustainability was important to their future plans, although just 29 per cent said they were actively seeking to make their premises more energy efficient.

Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, said: “Funding remains a huge challenge for community pharmacy; the five-year deal that came in 2019 didn’t take into account any of inflation, putting a lot of pressure on cash flow.

“That said, I believe the public holds a growing regard for pharmacists since the pandemic and I’d hope that the value pharmacists provide in communities will influence the next set of funding negotiations.”

Martyn Kendrick, head of healthcare banking services at Lloyds Bank said: “Common to all our professions, pharmacists’ primary concerns are rising energy prices, inflation of goods and services prices and interest rates.

“That said, I was heartened to see the number of pharmacists who would recommend the profession to a friend or relative grew for the fifth year in a row to hit 72 per cent.

“Community pharmacy is going through an exciting revolution, and we can confidently imagine they will be delivering a far wider range of services going forward.

“We’re longstanding supporters of pharmacies and will continue to provide them with the knowledge, products and guidance they need to continue delivering their essential services through these challenging times.”

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