Public sector pay rises a ‘slap in the face’ for ‘neglected’ pharmacy teams
Public sector pay rise annoucements have thrown community pharmacy’s “unresolved funding crisis” into sharp relief as years of real-term cuts continue to bite, pharmacy bodies have warned.
Workers including nurses, doctors and teachers will all see their salaries rise, it was announced yesterday (July 19) – although unions have complained that many of these increases are still below the rate of inflation.
The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee’s (PSNC) chief executive Janet Morrison labelled the move a “slap in the face” for community pharmacy teams, while National Pharmacy Association (NPA) chair Andrew said it only served to further highlight community pharmacy’s lack of funding.
Meanwhile, Association of Independent Multiple pharmacies (AIMp) CEO Leyla Hannbeck told C+D that while the public sector pay rises are welcome, "we are disappointed that community pharmacy continues to be ignored".
"The sector is under pressure, underfunded and is not given a level playing field," she stressed.
"When are the decision makers going to realise that without adequate funding and support community pharmacy cannot continue delivering the accessibility, care and important healthcare services that patients value so much?"
NPA: Funding needs "urgent attention"
While Ms Morrison acknowledged that many NHS workers “will desperately need and uplift” due to the rise in inflation, “contractors and their teams need and deserve the same help”, she said.
“This is particularly the case as satisfaction with other healthcare services falls off a cliff and pharmacies are being left, as always, to pick up the pieces for their local communities,” she added.
Meanwhile, Mr Lane said community pharmacy’s funding situation needs “urgent attention”, with the sector feeling “utterly neglected after seven years of crushing real-term [funding] cuts”.
“After stepping up to tackle COVID-19 and keep the wheels on the NHS, the sector deserves better than to be neglected in this way,” he commented.
PSNC “pushing” for more funding
PSNC is “pushing very hard” for a pharmacy funding uplift in England in its 2022/23 contract negotiations with the government, Ms Morrsion said, calling on the government to “back up their praise of pharmacies with much-needed financial support”.
The current five-year pharmacy funding contract – agreed in 2019 – has not been adjusted since it was agreed in 2019, despite rising inflation, Brexit, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Lane said the NPA “suspects” PSNC is close to agreeing a funding deal with the government, and hoped for “good news soon that community pharmacy will be treated as an essential part of the NHS”.