Establishment payments to plummet 20% from December
Establishment payments for pharmacies in England will drop 20% from December, the government has announced.
This will amount to £419 less a month for pharmacies which currently receive the highest monthly payment of £2,092, the Department of Health (DH) said in a document released today (October 20).
The payments will fall by a further 40% on current levels from April 2017 – down to £1,255 a month for these pharmacies, it said.
All community pharmacies which dispense more than 2,500 items a month currently receive an establishment payment, but the DH reaffirmed that these payments will be "phased out" entirely over "a number of years".
The DH's document was timed to coincide with confirmation from pharmacy minister David Mowat that the 12% cut to the global sum would go ahead in December as planned.
Despite the DH telling C+D last week that no final decision had been made on the cut, Mr Mowat laid out the plans in the House of Commons today.
Mr Mowat confirmed the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee's (PSNC) announcement last week that funding would drop by 7.4% on current levels for 2017-18, bringing the global sum down to £2.592bn.
Mr Mowat insisted the government "appreciates the value" of the pharmacy sector. But he stressed the current system does not do enough to "promote efficiency or quality".
The DH also released an impact assessment of the funding plan today, which confirms “there is no reliable way of estimating the number of pharmacies that may close as a result of this policy”.
PSNC "unanimously" rejected the funding package last week.
£42m integration fund announced
Following Mr Mowat's announcement, NHS England published details of its promised £42m 'pharmacy integration fund'.
This will support pharmacy to “develop new clinical pharmacy services, working practices and digital platforms”, and result in “more integrated and effective NHS primary care for patients”, it added.
Pharmacy Voice described the government’s plans for significant pharmacy funding cuts as “incoherent, self-defeating and whole unacceptable”.
Chief executive Rob Darracott said the government appears “hell-bent on pressing ahead” with its policy and has “replaced warm words with increasingly aggressive rhetoric.
The Twitter reaction:
Another Christmas Card from the government! https://t.co/Wv2HpN1KUD— Devon LPC (@DevonLPC) October 20, 2016
@CandDAnnabelle negotiations haven't even taken place, let alone for there to be further ones. More like a dictation— Amish Patel (@amishpatel1985) October 20, 2016
Not a reason to apply the same damaging principle to every community pharmacy. https://t.co/SZw33WWg6a— totalhealthpharmacy (@mylocalpharmacy) October 20, 2016
@CandDJamesW Don't 4get added to that is the CatM reductions - this is also massive Basically Christmas is cancelled once again for a start!— Rekha Shah (@KcwLpc) October 21, 2016