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Pharmacy’s COVID cost claims ‘significantly higher’ than initial £120m cap

The total cost of COVID-19-related expenses pharmacy owners have claimed for is “significantly higher” than the £120 million cap the government had originally offered, PSNC has said.

In June, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) announced that contractors would have until August 15 to make claims for COVID-19 related costs they incurred between March 2020 and March 2021.

The “overwhelming majority” of contractors in England submitted a claim, PSNC announced today (September 3), and the total claimed for is “significantly higher” than the £120m initially offered to the sector by the government but rejected by PSNC.

Despite the revised and “much improved” offer on pharmacy’s COVID-19 costs, the sector still has to pay back the £370m advance funding given to recognise contractors’ cashflow pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

C+D has asked whether the “significantly higher” claims amount is closer to the £370m advance funding figure.


“Urgent discussions” about outliers


Contractors’ cost claims are subject to pre- and post-payment verification, PSNC explained, and the negotiator is now in “urgent discussions with the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) about any outliers identified”.

“PSNC is also demanding that contractors receive a payment for their COVID-19 costs in time for the first repayment of last year’s advance payments,” the negotiator said.

Contractors are expected to receive payments for their COVID-19 cost claims on October 1. The DH had planned to take back repayments in six monthly sums, also from the start of October.

“These discussions are ongoing, and PSNC will update contractors as soon as we have more information,” the negotiator added.

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