PDA: NHS England should match support given to Scottish pharmacies
The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) is calling on NHS England to match the support given to Scottish pharmacies to help fight the COVID-19 outbreak.
It comes after the Scottish government announced it would meet in full the extra costs faced by community pharmacies to support the NHS during the pandemic yesterday (April 7).
The support includes an "initial" funding boost of £5.5 million to help cover the costs of equipment, additional staffing, premises adaptations and locum cover for staff absence.
In a statement published yesterday, the PDA said resources given to pharmacies in England are “woefully inadequate” in comparison. This is despite the fact that they are responding to the same pressures but on a larger scale and against the backdrop of significant funding cuts in recent years, the PDA added.
In England, the government last week (March 31) announced £300m in “advance funding” for community pharmacy to help alleviate the pressures created by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The £300m is not new money for the sector and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has said it will have to be “reconciled at a later date”.
An initial £200m was paid as an uplift to contractors on April 1, with the remaining £100m due to be paid on May 1.
“Lack of support”
PDA chairman Mark Koziol said: “Pharmacists working in England will be dismayed that NHS England attributes so little value to their incredibly hard work.
“Last week, while the minister of health persuaded the chancellor to write off £13.4bn of central NHS debt, he offered community pharmacists only a loan, the size of which does not even cover the cost of the additional drugs bill.”
Mr Koziol added that the lack of support and recognition for the hard work of pharmacy teams in England was a “travesty” that should not be allowed to continue any longer.
“We demand that NHS England provides at least the same support to the pharmacy frontline teams as has the NHS in Scotland,” he said.