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Pharmacy funding in England to remain at current levels into April

Community pharmacy fees and allowances in England will remain at current levels into April and beyond, as negotiations for a new settlement have yet to begin, PSNC has announced.

There will be “no changes” to the single activity fee [of £1.29], establishment payments or the Pharmacy Access Scheme “for now”, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee said this morning (March 27).

“The arrangements have been agreed to protect current funding distribution systems pending the start of substantive negotiations on community pharmacy funding for 2018-19,” it explained.

While the Quality Payments Scheme will also continue, NHS England is making two changes to the gateway criteria, PSNC stressed. Opening hours provided on the NHS Choices website must now include bank holidays, and pharmacies must receive their NHSmail from a shared NHSmail account.

Contractors must read the briefing notes on these changes here, it added.

DH not ready to begin negotiations

The Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England are “not yet in a position to begin negotiations for 2018-19”, PSNC explained.

“PSNC has put forward proposals about how it wishes to develop future community pharmacy services [read more here], and we hope to begin formal negotiations soon.”

PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe said: “We cannot speculate on the negotiations, but we are continuing to press the benefits and value of community pharmacies in the UK.”

“Community pharmacy contractors are under enormous financial pressure at the moment and PSNC’s priority in the negotiations will be to seek the best financial result possible for all community pharmacy contractors,” she added.

“Our objective will be to agree arrangements that will safeguard the future of this invaluable network of healthcare providers.”

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