The Government’s plan to phase out establishment payments is a further body blow to the thousands of independent pharmacists in England, says John D’Arcy, managing director of Numark. “The DH is throwing pharmacy to the wolves. Rather than come up with some rational agenda for pharmacy distribution, the process seems to be to pull the legs off the sector until it falls over.”
Mr D’Arcy points out that owner-managed outlets will be exposed and experience this cut disproportionately – “even Alistair Burt said multiples will be better placed to cope with the cuts at his meeting with the APPG”.
It is hard not to believe that this ‘vision’ for community pharmacy is based purely on the multiples, who are in a better position to consolidate branches and direct prescriptions from closed premises to an alternative outlet, maybe even the Government-favoured hub, says Mr D’Arcy. “Most independents have no such choice. It is an appalling strategy that in my view won’t work.”
Pharmacy Voice says the cuts being proposed are based not on what the Department of Health deems efficient or safe, but rather on what HM Treasury wishes to save. “The proposals for delivering efficiencies we’ve seen are at a very early stage of development and will not provide any meaningful savings prior to the imposition of the cuts.
“So it is hardly surprising that [community] pharmacies across the country are speaking out against these rash cuts, being imposed with little notice and with scant regard for the consequences,” says PV chair Claire Ward.
It is an appalling strategy that in my view won’t work