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CCA: Funding model ‘broken’ as each pharmacy facing £67k yearly shortfall

The community pharmacy sector in England faces a funding shortfall of more than £750m per year – or more than £67,000 per pharmacy – the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) has warned.

The CCA today (January 9) issued the warning following a government statement that it said “confirmed” the sector is “seriously underfunded” by showing the “difference in real and nominal funding for community pharmacy”.


Health minister Will Quince was responding to a written question from Labour MP for Enfield North Feryal Clark asking how much funding has been provided to England's community pharmacies through the five-year deal “in real terms accounting for inflation in each year since 2016”.


His written answer, published last week (January 4), revealed that pharmacies received £2.6bn in “nominal funding” in 2022/23 against a gross domestic product (GDP) deflator of 120.3 as at November 2022, compared with £2.8bn in 2015/16.


Read more: Boots growth ‘offset’ by fixed pharmacy funding deal, parent company says


This means that the contract would be worth more than £3.3bn in 2022/23 if it had increased in line with GDP since 2015/16 – representing a “shortfall” of more than £750m per year when accounting for GDP, the CCA said.


“This equates to more than £67,000 per pharmacy – money that could be invested in frontline pharmacy staff allowing pharmacies to provide even more vital patient-facing care,” it added.



Sector “seriously underfunded”


CCA chief executive Malcolm Harrison said: “This is yet further confirmation that the funding model for pharmacy in England is truly broken.”

He added: “The [Department of Health and Social Care has] finally confirmed what we have felt for many years, that community pharmacy is now seriously underfunded.

“Unfortunately, the Government and the NHS expect pharmacy teams to do more and more without the funding the sector needs. This cannot continue. Without immediate investment, we will see the continued erosion of the service pharmacies can provide.”

Read more: Pharmacy leaders issue urgent funding plea as pharmacies 'struggling to survive'

Last month, community pharmacy representatives warned that the sector faces permanent closures and medicine supply issues if it does not receive urgent investment.

At the time, national representative bodies including the CCA as well as a group of pharmacy chains penned a joint letter to health secretary Steve Barclay warning that pharmacies were making losses and were struggling to survive.

And last week, Boots’ parent company revealed that its last quarterly growth was ‘more than offset’ by the adverse impact of NHS pharmacy funding.

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