This site is intended for Healthcare Professionals only

Welsh negotiator blasts ‘unacceptable’ flat funding deal

NHS & health news

Welsh negotiator blasts ‘unacceptable’ flat funding deal

The Welsh Government has refused to increase the annual global sum for community pharmacies for the 2024-25 financial year, leaving the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) funding envelope fixed at £165.134m 

Russell Goodway, chief executive of negotiating body Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW), wrote to contractors on Wednesday July 3 confirming that funding talks had concluded, adding that the discussions were “protracted” due to the Government’s refusal to deviate from a January statement outlining that no extra money would be available for 2024-25.

Mr Goodway said this was “unacceptable” to the CPW board, which sought to persuade policymakers of the impact this would have on pharmacies and informed them that the sector “will be unable to continue the successful delivery of the provisions of Presgripsiwn Newydd without a significant increase in funding going forward”.

“Welsh Government negotiators simply did not have the authority to put more money on the table at this time,” he said.

The Government also failed to offer any guarantee that community pharmacy would participate in the NHS Pay Review Body arrangements in the summer as in previous years, said Mr Goodway, though following pressure from CPW it has agreed to “look to see if there is an opportunity” to increase funding after the summer review.

Despite its failed attempts to push for an increase to the CPCF, Mr Goodway said the negotiator had been successful in persuading the government to review the allocation individual funding lines within the envelope. As a result:

  • Increased investment in professional fees will see the allocation rise from £80m to £89m in 2024-25
  • The professional fee will rise from 90p to £1 per item with an additional temporary 1p for “EPS related activities” to support the move to paperless dispensing
  • £15m has been included for practice payments and £5.1m for terms of service, with both to be distributed “by reference to items dispensed”
  • Funding for community pharmacy collaborative leads will rise to £0.3m as of April 2024, with the key focus areas to be EPS and a review looking into 56-day prescribing
  • Funding for collaborative working schemes will double to £1.6m.

In other developments, the allocations for two clinical services – the Clinical Community Pharmacy Service (CCPS) and the Pharmacist Independent Prescribing Service (PIPS) will be combined in a single stream with the same respective funding levels as last year, to give health boards “greater flexibility to allocate these resources to support local commissioning priorities”.

A planned move of continuity payments into the CCPS establishment fee has been deferred to 2025-26 and the overall budget for the payments has been temporarily reduced by £1m to £3.7m.

Mr Goodway said the negotiator’s CPCF implementation group will carry out a review next week and host an engagement event for contractors on July 16.

Responding to the news, Numark chairman Harry McQuillan said: “I can understand that Numark community pharmacy members will be disappointed, especially against the backdrop of significant increasing operational costs, in today’s Welsh Pharmacy Contract Funding announcement which advises of a flat funding level for 24/25.

“The crumb of positivity in it is that at least the funding is set at the higher level agreed halfway through 23/24. It will be interesting to see if the Welsh Government replicates a similar mid-year uplift when the DDRB pay settlement is announced later this year.

“The allocation of a larger proportion of funding to this activity is welcomed but comes at the expense of further service development. This highlights the dilemma that Governments have when faced with financial constraints. It would appear that the desire to support more service development remains but the funding to do so has not been forthcoming at this time.”

Copy Link copy link button

NHS & health news