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Not fair: Public backs calls for increased pharmacy funding as pressures intensify

Two thirds of people who responded to a survey commissioned by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) believe it is “unfair” that pharmacies in England have not seen their funding increase for eight years, as contractors grapple with rising costs.

The survey – which gathered responses from over 1,000 adults in England between August 26-30 – found that 85% of respondents would back more more investment into local pharmacies on the grounds that this might “improve access to NHS services”, according to results released by the NPA yesterday (August 31).

NPA chair Andrew Lane remarked that it is clear the public can see “no natural justice in the current funding arrangements, which are strangling pharmacy finances and threaten thousands of family-owned businesses with closure”.

Read more: Public sector pay rises a ‘slap in the face’ for ‘neglected’ pharmacy teams

He described the sector’s “crippling” under-investment and the “contractual mechanisms based on averages” as “inherently unfair”, calling for “urgent reform”.

 

Shrinking bottom line

 

The survey also found that 81% of respondents think it is unfair that pharmacies receive less money for providing services than before the pandemic, following years of real-terms cuts.

An equal percentage of respondents criticised the fact that the NHS does not always match the amount pharmacies have paid for prescription medicines, resulting in losses.

Read more: Pharmacy advanced services at risk amid rising pressures, LPCs warn 

 

Rising energy bill costs


With energy prices expected to see steep rises, NPA board member Olivier Picard estimated that his electricity bill for one pharmacy could increase fourfold from £1,821 to £6,914.

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) yesterday renewed its calls on the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) to agree to a funding uplift for community pharmacy, as contactors “brace themselves for significant rises in their energy bills” and operating costs.

PSNC chief executive Janet Morrison said the negotiating team has “been clear that the government must protect these vital healthcare providers from economic pressures that are outside of their control to maintain public access to pharmaceutical care”.

 Ms Morrison also wrote to ministers twice last month, to bring attention to the pressures community pharmacy is facing, PSNC added.

Last month (August 23), C+D asked multiples and independents how they planned to help their staff manage cost-of-living pressures, after Chemist4U announced it would give its employees a bonus to help with mounting bills.

 

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