78 pharmacies rejected for cuts protection as window closes
NHS England has rejected all 78 of the applications received so far from pharmacies requesting financial protection from the funding cuts, C+D has learned.
The Pharmacy Access Scheme is designed to protect pharmacies which are situated a mile or more from another pharmacy by road from the “full effect” of the cuts – as long as they are not in the top 25% best-performing businesses according to dispensing volume.
The window to apply for the “near miss” review process under the Pharmacy Access Scheme closed on Tuesday (February 28), with the exception of pharmacies claiming that a "physical feature anomaly", for example a semi-permanent road or bridge closure, means that the nearest pharmacy is in fact more than a mile away.
NHS England began accepting applications for the “near miss” process in November and said it would aim to complete a review within six weeks.
In January, the commissioner confirmed it had rejected each of the 54 applications it had reviewed so far.
NHS England confirmed to C+D this week that 78 pharmacies have now received letters informing them they do not meet the application criteria.
The remaining applications are still under consideration and will be responded to as soon as possible, it added.
An NHS England spokesperson said the criteria for pharmacies to receive funding “were very clearly laid out” when the scheme was first announced in October last year.
“The document is quite clear that NHS England’s role is to administer the review process in line with the published criteria,” they stressed.