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CPE confirms no change to fees amid 2024/25 contract delays

The pharmacy negotiator has confirmed that fee levels and service arrangements will “remain the same” until ongoing negotiations for the delayed 2024/25 contract have concluded.

Community Pharmacy England (CPE) confirmed on Thursday (March 28) that negotiations on the new pharmacy contract for England for 2024/25 are “still in progress”.


“Until these negotiations have concluded, fee levels will remain the same and existing service arrangements will continue as previously announced,” it said.


Read more: ‘We have to be realistic’: Government could impose new contract, CPE warns


Any adjustments to fees or margin needed to deliver the total funding sum for 2024/25 will also be made “later in the year” following the negotiations’ conclusion, it added.


It comes as the start of this month marks the end of the five-year pharmacy contract deal that came into force in 2019.


Read more: ‘A history of failure’: Weldricks boss blasts pharmacy negotiator


But CPE said that it is “not yet clear when the negotiations will conclude”.


It added that its committee is “fully focused on the very desperate state that community pharmacy businesses now find themselves in and the need to assure the sustainability of the sector for this year and beyond”.



“Deep distress”



CPE chief executive Janet Morrison said that community pharmacy businesses are “working in crisis mode” and in “deep distress”.

The current pharmacy funding levels “are quite simply driving them out of business”, she added.

The negotiator has been warning NHS England (NHSE) and the government “both privately and publicly of the very dire consequences to both pharmacies and their patients should they continue along this path of attrition”, she said.


Read more: CPW: ‘Not possible’ to conclude Welsh contract negotiations before April

 

CPE’s negotiating team is “very cognisant of the urgent need for pharmacy businesses to have clarity about the future, but at the same time focused on getting the best deal for pharmacy owners on the table as soon as we possibly can,” she added.


In February, Morrison said that there was a “question mark” over whether a new contract deal would be completed by March 31 and warned pharmacies in England of the possibility of an imposed 2024/25 contract.


Read more: ‘Thriving market’: Minister upbeat about community pharmacy despite closures


But she stressed that if this were the case, the negotiator will nonetheless “try to influence” the contract’s terms.


It comes as Weldricks operations director David Vanns has said that the pharmacy negotiator “negotiated a lot of losses for people this year”, in an exclusive interview with C+D.


Meanwhile, Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW) announced last month that the new Welsh core contract has also “unfortunately” been delayed.

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