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Cash injection for pharmacies in Manchester and Bolton to offset security costs

Eligible community pharmacy contractors in Greater Manchester and Bolton can apply to get some of their security costs offset through dedicated funding, C+D has learned.

The Greater Manchester integrated care system (GM ICS) set aside “limited funding” to support contractors who put in place “safety and security measures… during the pandemic and beyond”, the Greater Manchester local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) wrote in an update on its website.

The ICS’s decision follows an increase in episodes of verbal abuse and threats to pharmacy teams from the public, it specified.

Read more: Managing abusive patients – legal and regulatory considerations for pharmacists

Contractors in the area who would like to be considered for the funding must carry out a self-assessment audit to specify which security solutions they have already implemented – which may include CCTV, panic buttons, and fixed screens – and which others they would like to install.

Funding will be assigned to successful contractors who can show their installations are within scope of the grant “following a due-diligence process”, the GM ICP added.

While the total amount of security funding is confidential, the pot will be equally shared among the successful applicants, Greater Manchester local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) CEO Luvjit Kandula told C+D.

 

“It’s going to be needed”

 

Ms Kandula – who also chairs the community pharmacy provider board (CPPB) in Greater Manchester – told C+D she is “really keen” to put this money “in the hands of contractors so that they can actually put anything they need in place”.

“Community pharmacies are facing physical and verbal abuse. The data we have collated indicates the gravity of the problem,” she added.

The funding was secured through the work of CPPB, which includes the Greater Manchester LPC, Bolton LPC, and CHL – the local independent provider company that helps the LPCs administer contracts.

The ICS was very “receptive” to the security difficulties experienced by contractors and their teams as they were flagged by the CPPB, Ms Kandula told C+D.

Read more: Police chief: Theft in pharmacies may rise as cost-of-living crisis bites

Earlier this year, a C+D investigation revealed that at least 27,385 reports of crimes in pharmacies were received by police authorities over the three-year period. But while the frequency of threats of abuse and violence grew over the pandemic, pharmacy teams reported fewer crimes overall to the police.

Meanwhile in June, Knights Pharmacy told C+D it had introduced security guards and a “support guardian” to offer counselling to staff, after witnessing a “steep rise” in abuse directed at its pharmacy teams.

 

Read all of the findings from C+D’s crimes in pharmacies investigation in our dedicated hub.

Have you been on the receiving end of abuse or aggressive behaviour from patients? Share your experiences on the C+D Community or if you'd prefer to remain anonymous, please contact [email protected]

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