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Rowlands MD: Pharmacy First will only continue if contract funding improves

NHS & health news

Rowlands MD: Pharmacy First will only continue if contract funding improves

Rowlands Pharmacy managing director Nigel Swift has warned the government that pharmacies in England will only be able to continue delivering Pharmacy First if there is “sufficient funding” for the profession’s core contract.

Swift (pictured) called for an end to “chronic underfunding of community pharmacy” and although he welcomed funding for Pharmacy First, which gives pharmacists monthly payments of £1,000 for meeting a minimum number of consultations as well as £15 per consultation, he said the contract needs greater funding if the government is to build upon the scheme’s “solid start.”

He cited Company Chemists’ Association figures that reveal over 84 per cent of Pharmacy First consultations have been for self-referral, with sore throats representing 30 per cent of all consultations followed by uncomplicated UTIs (26 per cent) and earache (17 per cent).

“The response from the public has been impressive. This is clearly a service people want, need and value,” he said. “Funding for Pharmacy First is welcome, but those services can only be delivered if there is sufficient funding for the core contract. One depends upon the other.

“I appreciate there are lots of demands for government funding, but surely investing in primary care delivered through community pharmacy is simple common sense in terms of health outcomes and efficient use of limited NHS funds.”

He insisted Rowlands would continue to lobby the government “to address the funding, regulatory and policy changes required to help us succeed in delivering world-leading pharmacy-led patient care.”

“Pharmacy is the third pillar of access to NHS essential care, alongside GPs and A&E,” he said. “Our professional contribution makes a difference to life outcomes, from illness prevention through to helping people with long-term conditions.

“Why then are we seeing a dramatic decline in the pharmacy network in England? Surely this is a national asset worth investing in which enables better patient access, outcomes and satisfaction with the NHS - and which relieves stress on other parts of the NHS.”



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