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General election: CPE ‘deeply concerned’ over prospect of further contract delays

The negotiator has said that it is “accelerating” core contract negotiations after the Prime Minister announced a general election yesterday afternoon.  

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak yesterday (May 22) announced that a general election will take place on July 4.

Commenting on the news, Community Pharmacy England (CPE) this morning (May 23) said that it will discuss “the impact on the ongoing 2024/25 pharmacy funding negotiations with the Department of Health and Social Care (DH)”.

CPE said that “the prospect of more delays is deeply concerning for pharmacy owners who urgently need good news”.

“Accelerating this negotiation, whether in the coming weeks or with the new government, remains our focus,” it added.

The upcoming election means that from tomorrow (May 24), the UK parliament will be “prorogued”, meaning that the current session will end and the current parliament will be officially “dissolved” from May 30, according the BBC


“We have been preparing”


The negotiator said that it had “been preparing for the news of a UK general election for many months, briefing and building support for community pharmacy across all political parties”.

“The election period will be an important time for building supporters in readiness for the new parliament,” it added.

CPE said that it would talk to local pharmaceutical committees (LPCs) “about how we can work together on this” at its national meeting today.

It added that it will “[encourage] all LPCs and pharmacy owners to contact their local prospective parliamentary candidates seeking their support for community pharmacy”.


“Imperative” crisis is addressed


Yesterday (May 22), the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) also tweeted a response to the election announcement.

“As the election is called it’s imperative that any incoming government addresses the crisis in primary care,” NPA chief executive Paul Rees said.

He added that the “looming cliff edge facing pharmacies” must be confronted by the new government.

Rees said that pharmacies are “the front door to the NHS and a crucial source of frontline health care” for “millions of people”.


Contract delay chaos


Meanwhile, CPE confirmed in March that negotiations on the new pharmacy contract for England for 2024/25 were “still in progress”.

The start of April marked the end of the five-year pharmacy contract deal that came into force in 2019.

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

In February, CPE 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.

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