The Department of Health (DH) has delayed its announcement of who will receive a £1.5 million fund to investigate pharmacy's public health role, C+D has learned.
The announcement was scheduled for August 1 but the DH has still not decided who the funding should be awarded to and does not know when it will do so, a spokesperson told C+D on Monday (August 4).
Research teams had one month until December last year to submit their proposals for how they would "strengthen the evidence base" for the benefits and cost-effectiveness of delivering public health services in community pharmacy.
In the DH's timetable, the applications were due to be peer reviewed by April 28, with the outcome announced in August. The funding contract is due to be awarded in September, subject to pre-contract negotiations.
In its invitation to researchers in November last year, the DH said community pharmacies were a "potentially valuable resource" in public health and an improved evidence base was needed to understand how to use them to maximum effect. The DH had "ideally" wanted the contract to be offered to one team, although it could "modify" its approach depending on the quality of bids received, it said.
At the time, Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott said he expected research teams to work together to apply for the funding, because they were given only a month to submit their proposals.