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In full: Pharmacy London letter on NHS pharmacy contraception service

Where does Pharmacy London stand on the NHS pharmacy contraception service? See the full text of its letter about the service below

Pharmacy London notes that NHS England (NHSE) has “soft launched” the NHS pharmacy contraception service on April 24 2023.

Read more: UPDATED: Launch date for national contraception service announced

It is rather disappointing that NHSE has not taken on board the warning on the perilous funding situation of many community pharmacy contractors by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC). It is disappointing but to be expected and Rishi Sunak’s hollow words at Prime Minister's Questions only seem to underline the strategy of attrition adopted by NHSE and the Department of Health and Social Care (DH).

We support the need for more clinical services from community pharmacy and this was highlighted in our document London Community Pharmacy: Our offer to London Pharmacy Strategy 2020. Community pharmacy is ideally located, is readily and conveniently accessible, but that access is being eroded by NHSE's and the DH’s belligerence not to accept the dire state of community pharmacy finances.

We support the PSNC, Association of Independent Multiple pharmacies (AIMp), Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) and the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) in their statements that contractors should carefully consider the facts before signing up to this service. Community pharmacy has always put patients first and that is the reason why we will never strike.

Read more: Pharmacy leaders make funding plea as contraception service launch date looms

We believe that the implications on the funding of the service on community pharmacy finances would mean pharmacists providing services at a loss.

The NHS pharmacy contraception service does not add a single penny to the pharmacy budget, all it means is a transfer of money from our dispensing fees. So we end up dispensing more items at a loss.

Community pharmacy has a history of delivering at scale and at pace; consider the flu vaccination service, which delivered another record year and it all started in London.

Please study this graph, provided at the AIMp webinar, to realise that any new service needs new additional funding.

The Pharmacy London Board recommends that contractors do not sign up for the service, until the service is funded adequately to ensure that it can be delivered safely to women.

Read more: Day Lewis halts pharmacy contraception service until funding progress made

We believe that this will send a clear message to the DH that we will not engage in extra services which compromise patient safety.

New advance services means lower dispensing fees, dispensing at a loss and ultimately pharmacy closures.

Pharmacy London Membership

  • Barnet, Enfield & Haringey LPC

  • Bexley Bromley & Greenwich LPC

  • Brent & Harrow LPC

  • Camden and Islington LPC

  • City & Hackney LPC

  • Croydon LPC

  • Ealing, Hammersmith & Hounslow LPC

  • Hillingdon LPC

  • Kensington Chelsea & Westminster LPC

  • Kingston & Richmond LPC

  • Lambeth Lewisham& Southwark LPC

  • Merton, Sutton & Wandsworth LPC

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