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Finance expert: Pharmacy funding cut will hit locum rates

Sebastian Miles: Medicines suppliers may also have to reduce their margins to offset cuts

Contractors will look to locums to make savings after October's funding drop, says Shawbrook Bank head of pharmacy Sebastian Miles


The government’s plan to cut pharmacy funding in England by 6% will drive down locum rates, a leading finance expert has predicted.

The planned cuts – which will see the global sum slashed by at least £170 million in October – will “inevitably put downward pressure” on rates as contractors look to make savings, according to Sebastian Miles, head of pharmacy at funding provider Shawbrook Bank.

Locum rates will "not necessarily" drop until the cuts arrive, he told C+D on Wednesday (January 6).

Pharmacists took to Twitter to agree with Mr Miles' comments.

Sector shares the pain

The funding drop will also “put a lot more pressure” on medicines suppliers to “reduce their margins a little bit”, Mr Miles said.

“I think everybody in pharmacy is going to have to share the pain,” he added.

An online petition urging the government to scrap the planned cuts had gained more than 9,900 signatures at time of going to press. The government will have to respond to the petition if more than 10,000 people sign the document.

You can sign the petition here.

Last January, C+D revealed locum rates were the lowest in seven years.


More on the cuts...

Government to slash pharmacy funding by 6%

Pharmacy funding cuts: Everything you need to know

Pharmacy funding cuts: The sector's reaction


How could the cuts affect your pharmacy business?

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information


Amber Sattar, Pharmacy Undergraduate

I so amazed how some leading independent chains in pharmacy due to funding cuts which was announced not so long ago were so quick to bring down there locum weekday rates to 12/hour. Disgraceful.!

Francis Jones, Community pharmacist

I'm now retired from Community Pharmacy as an owner for just 5 years.I am just thankful that I got out when I did.The almost weekly cuts in remuneration will mean that there will be downward pressure to cut salaries and locum fees and owners will have to get used to a declining income.I would never recommend pharmacy as career choice for my children or grandchildren.There is a vast oversupply of graduates coming to market driving down salaries and locum rates and increasing job insecurity.My advice to any young person intent on pursuing a career is to avoid the medical profession like the plague .Engineering seems to be the career of choice with graduate starting at around 20-25K pa.and a rapid advancement in both responsibility and salary/. Pharmacy was a great career choice for me but,sadly,it isn't for any young hopeful.

JOHN MUNDAY, Locum pharmacist

Hopefully contractors will deal with the cuts sensibly. For example, it cannot make sense to offer free deliveries to everyone. This alone costs a fortune. Restrict it to housebound or disabled patients - anyone else is taking the Mickey. MDS packs for non nursing / residential patients home patients - don't do it or at least charge for the service. Don't offer it in the first place - costs a fortune to do for no return. Do every service you can do and squeeze them till they hurt - this is the only proper income thread you can affect apart from buying margins. Pay decent pay rates for your staff - you will get monkeys if you don't and then your great team will look to Aldi or Lidl for employment. Don't replace the Merc this year - so what if it is last year's model - live on the edge like me. My car has 120k miles on the clock and yes I have to travel 4 hours a day to get work sometimes (220 mile round trip). All I get is a sore.....

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

I don't know about just the "team" looking to Aldi, they pay their Assistant managers a starting salary of 24k. If I was a newly qualified pharmacist I would be very tempted! It's a 50 hour week, but at least you can't get struck off for selling some out of date stuff!

P M, Community pharmacist

sami your such a wind up.

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

I used to be a locum and now a contractor - majority of locums just come in and do the basics, cant blame them - £24 per hour just about heats my pool

bilal hussain, Community pharmacist

You've obviously had the wrong locums in then. I work my backside off for places I locum, making them plenty of money in the process as well as ensuring business continuity (through emergency supplies etc). This is just the benefit the BUSINESS sees and despite the focus of my work being patient-orientated. It must have worked, as I was given a managers role and patients enjoy using the services I oversee. Pharmacists have a lot to offer the NHS. They're just being screwed over in the hope the services come cheap.

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

Locums get paid too much anyway..all they do is stick a label on a box

ROBERT SHODUNKE, Community pharmacist

Do you really need a reply to that garbage ?

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

its pathetic how locums moan about rates of pay...its called demand and supply...if you dont like the rates, jump ship and look for pastures new...I have heard some locums waking up at 0400 to travel to work

Mr CAUSTIC, Community pharmacist

london transport will be looking for people to work on the late night tube service at premium rates soon. no student loan to pay off, free travel plus free travel for partner. no prof fees or insurance to pay. no pressure unless a pharmacist decides to throw themselves under the train one is driving because of their intolerable pressures. no 5 year course. what would you recommend as a career? of course there is always the risk of the mayor deciding to go automatic in the future.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Tube train drivers have a strong Union. Pharmacists Collectively don't even have a backbone.

Daniel Prince, GP

As a half competent trader, my bonus was double my previous salary.

Maria Ovenden, Community pharmacist

If the rates go down much more I might retrain as a plummer or get a job with less responsibility for almost the same pay. I love the job and work very hard each time I am in but am beginning to feel more and more devalued.

Mr CAUSTIC, Community pharmacist

plummer or plumber ? a person that works with feathers (plumes) is a plumassier and i do not know how well paid that is ! sorry i missed the previous reply. its obviously the stress of the job causing the spelling error. i use opera that spell checks everything. does one need an accountant to say that with the excess of pharmacists the employers will try and cut wages if their income is cut.

Edward H Rowan, Locum pharmacist

Maybe part of the training will be to learn to spell the name of your new profession.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Way ahead of you there.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist


Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

I laughed as well at how C&D quotes a non entity accountant as speaking pearls of wisdom. This is all part of the softening up process. The offshore owned multiples will use this cut to bring everyone into the ground. But look 2 years down the road and you will see their profits have increased. This is an ongoing saga for the last 20 years and this is why all the large UK chains are owned by offshore corporates.

Dave Downham, Manager

Tad harsh, Harry. Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out the bleeding obvious.

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

There are now much more attractive career paths for potential pharmacy students to follow. Time for a C&D poll. How much do you enjoy your career as a community pharmacist? A. It's as fabulous as ever / B. It's enjoyable but not as much as it was / C. It's stressful and increasingly so /D. It's a nightmare and I wish I'd opted for something else. My prediction. 90% C or D.

Chandra Nathwani, Community pharmacist

The option I want to select is not lised !


Snake Plissken, Student

D, as you've correctly predicted. I think C&D have done similar polls in the past. I have always thought about plumbing or electrics too, as someone has mentioned further down the post. It's hands on and helping customers keep warm and safe, don't have to worry about rates ever going down. Do a few boiler services, at the current rate of about £50-75 taking around 15-30 mins per house and bobs your dads brother. (Yeah, I know i'm looking at it through rose tinted glasses, but i'm sure it can't be as bad as what's to come:-(

James Bryce, Superintendent

or a GP practice manager, salary £30-55k depending on list size, we have many of the skill sets needed PLUS knowledge of medication!! Don't think that's what is meant by Pharmacists in GP practices though!

Jacek Szmigiel, Community pharmacist

Oh, what a coincidence on C and D website:-) laugh though:-( Stay positive!

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

A. as answered by Boots area manager.

Bal Singh, Locum pharmacist


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