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NHS England cuts budget that funds pharmacy global sum

The budget, which funds pharmacy alongside other health services, will fall 0.6% next year

The budget for direct commissioning – which includes the community pharmacy global sum – will fall 3% over the next five years, the commissioning body says

UPDATE: The government has announced plans to cut pharmacy funding by 6% next year. Click here for the full story.


NHS England will cut the overall budget through which it funds community pharmacy by 3% over the next five years.

The £6.68 billion budget for direct commissioning – which is used to fund the global sums for community pharmacy, dentistry, ophthalmology services, and public health – will fall 0.6% to £6.64bn next year, the commissioning body revealed this morning (December 17).

The budget will drop to £6.46bn by 2020-21 – 3% lower than it is now, it said.

NHS England told C+D it will have "more details" on the impact of the cuts on community pharmacy later this afternoon.

C+D has also received unconfirmed reports this week that the community pharmacy global sum – which currently stands at £2.8bn – will be cut as part of the 2016-17 funding settlement. 

See the table below for full details of changes to NHS England's direct commissioning budget:

2015-16 allocation 2016-17 allocation 2017-18 allocation 2018-19 allocation 2019-20 allocation 2020-21 allocation
£6.68bn £6.64bn £6.64bn £6.61bn £6.53bn £6.46bn
Source: NHS England board paper, published December 17, 2015

Alongside the changes, NHS England announced that it will boost its funding for general practice "at a higher rate than for other health services", increasing its spend by between 4% and 5.4% each year for the next five years. 

Every clinical commissioning group (CCG) will also get a real-terms budget increase, it added.

PSNC was unavailable to comment on NHS England's announcement.


Simon MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

wonder if the gp surgeries who charge '' their'' pharmacies a whopping rent will decrease said overhead by 3% over the next few years ....

Kav Hundle, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

Blame sits with Sue Sharpe I'm afraid. Underselling pharmacy for years yet still picks up 250k a year herself. (C&D I can see you still have me down as a GP - no thanks. Can you change me back to Community pharmacist for 10th time of asking)

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

Over 100k more than David Cameron? Why?!?! What is wrong in this country?

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

GP practices allocated 4% funding boost every year until 2021. To pay for 7 day and evening working no doubt. Pharmacist are tripping over themselves to do the same for no extra. The point of this is clear. Pharmacies are not seen as good value for money. But every pharmacy up and down the land is working their socks off this week to deal with the pre-Christmas rush.

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

Correction, every PHARMACIST is working their socks off within community pharmacy. A pharmacy cannot work its socks off as it is an entity. Pharmacies are not good value for money as they have external shareholders that add no value to the healthcare element. Why do we need them ? We need Pharmacists, technicians, support staff. But external off shore multiples ? What value do they add ?

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Claim your life back, start cutting your hours and plan your escape root. You may even be fortunate and own your pharmacy in which case sell up. There is no logic to the current sky high premiums.

nader Siabi, Community pharmacist

PSNC just dropped the bombshell, announcing reduction of £170m from the present global sum. This is a nail in a coffin for the community pharmacies. Junior doctors brought the DH to its knee and got the government to U-turn on their plan. Why can't we have an effective organisation to fight our corner.

Paul Miyagi, Information Technology

Your'e right nader. Pharmacists don't stick together . Go on social media and get everyone to agree a day of action . I definitely would have if I was still working. That would send shock waves !!

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Terrible but not unexpected news. Will pharmacies stop free deliveries? No. Will pharmacies stop free MDS? No. Rx numbers are still king so the savings will have to be elsewhere. Staff wages frozen? Very likely. Locum rates cut. You bet. Companies will be very glad to recruit pharmacists from abroad and the candidates will be very happy to take up the offer of work.

Dave Downham, Manager

I'm sure that the PSNC will welcome the opportunity to demonstrate their effectiveness.

Dave Downham, Manager

How is £6.46bn 1% less than £6.68bn? I make that a 3.3% cut or am I missing something obvious?

Samuel Horti, Other healthcare professional

You're right Dave, I realised the error and it's been amended. Thanks for flagging.

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

You can bet your bottom dollar the PSNC will "negotiate" a distribution that favours its majority multiples. They will not suffer any cuts. Anyone want to bet that this will also be an excuse to cut pharmacy staffing and pharmacist pay levels ?

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Cut staff and pay. You do have a sense of humor. Patient safety is the most important thing isn't it?

Bal Singh, Locum pharmacist

Squeaky wheel gets the grease.

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