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DH responds to PSNC’s ‘deep frustration’ over funding negotiations

The Department of Health and Social Care (DH) has responded to PSNC’s public expression of “deep frustration” over the ongoing pharmacy funding negotiations.

In an update to contract negotiations posted yesterday (February 9), Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) chief executive Simon Dukes said the HM Treasury’s refusal to budge on its “insufficient” funding offer “is not in line with ministers’ promises”.

“We also believe that the [DH] and NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) are failing in their duty to protect the sector financially,” he added, urging the sector to “publicly hold [the government] and NHSE&I to account for their funding decisions and the impact that those can have on patients”.

In a statement to C+D today (February 10), a spokesperson for the DH said: “Community pharmacies make an important contribution to the NHS, and have gone above and beyond in response to COVID-19 to serve their communities, including in the vaccination programme.

“During this unprecedented pandemic, £370 million has been made available in advance payments to support pharmacies in maintaining medicine supplies and providing health advice. Additional funding for costs incurred during the pandemic, is being discussed with the sector,” they added.

Access to COVID-19 support packages

The DH said that as well as ongoing discussions with PSNC about additional funding, most pharmacies have been able to access general COVID-19 business support packages, including retail grants and business rates relief.

Additional payments have also been made to support opening hours on bank holidays and social distancing for every medicine delivery service to shielded patients, the DH explained. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided free of charge and pharmacies are reimbursed for PPE already purchased, it added.

The DH also pointed to non-monetary support provided during the pandemic, such as the delayed introduction of new services and support through the pharmacy quality scheme.

How has your pharmacy coped during the COVID-19 pandemic?

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