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PSNC rejects offer of 12% pharmacy funding cut

PSNC: Funding proposals will lead to free services being withdrawn from community pharmacies

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has rejected the government's plans to slash pharmacy funding in England by 12% for December 2016 until March 2017.

This would bring the global sum down to £2.687 billion – slightly above the £2.63bn announced by the Department of Health (DH) in its original funding announcement last December.

However, this time the DH has also unveiled plans to reduce funding for 2017-18 by 7.4% on current levels – bringing it down to £2.592bn, PSNC said this morning (October 14).

The negotiator has rejected the offer, which it said is “rooted in the government’s professed aim to close pharmacies”.

It pointed out that there is “no substantive difference between the current proposal and the proposal announced in December 2015”.

“Unlike all previous negotiations between community pharmacy and the DH, this year’s negotiations were not characterised by collaborative working. From the start, the proposals were presented by the DH as a fait accompli,” it said.

“The proposals will lead to free health services being withdrawn from community pharmacies,” it warned.

“The DH has not published evidence in support of its plan to reduce pharmacy funding,” the negotiator added. Instead, it had ignored a recent report showing the £3bn net benefit the sector makes to the NHS, PSNC stressed.

Read PSNC’s full letter to the DH, sent today, here.

Last night, pharmacy minister David Mowat outlined proposals for community pharmacist to play a greater minor ailments role. The full story will appear on the C+D site this morning.

48 Comments
Question: 
What do you think about the latest funding plans?

max falconer, Superintendent Pharmacist

One thing the PSNC could do is tell the government we will not co-operate with the ridiculous Falsified Medicines Directive. This will create an intolerable burden on pharmacies at a time when staff levels will be cut and is a solution to a problem that doesn't even exist in bricks and mortar pharmacies in the UK. 

If you are not up to speed on what FMD will mean  may I suggest you have a look....it's a nightmare coming down the tracks

Sue Per, Locum pharmacist

The Locums have had it for ten years, now it's time for similar treatment for the"fat & greedy" mainly multiple contractors.

Remove useless services such as NMS, and useless 1& 2 item Mur's, showing no clinical need, and/or patient benefit. Clawback all purchase profits., Remove all services prone to fraud.

Increase Prescribing period to 56 & 84 days for appropriate patients with stable conditions., 

Remove "7 - Day" dosette prescriptions, except for the certified disabled persons on multiple medications.

Starve the Multiple contractors until the Fat in the Balance Sheet, accrued over the past decade is decimated. 

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Think I'll start a "Put pharmacy back in the hands of pharmacists" campaign...

Stephen Thomas, Community pharmacist

When the name "Valentine Trodd" appears on the GPhC register either as a Pharmacist or Technician I might take that seriously...

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Stephen, I'm following in a well trodden (pardon the pun) tradition - even the great columnists at the C+D (Xrayser, Dr Messenger, The Area Manager, et al.) write under a nom de plume! So lighten up. I can assure you I am a fully paid up member of this sorry club.

Graham Morris, Design

Extract from article in today's Daily Telegraph.

Minister are hoping that a new Pharmacy Access Scheme will head off some of the closures. But a leaked Government document, seen by The Daily Telegraph, shows that the scheme will only “support 1,380 chemists”, leaving as many as 1,620 to close.

The leaked document indicates that “only a handful” of chemists will be supported based on the “size and needs of each population”, with most support based on distance to other chemists.

“Pharmacies that are a mile or more from another pharmacy will be automatically eligible” for average payments worth between £8,500 and £19,500 each, it says.

 

 

Altaf Vaiya,

Hi guys!

This is a message to all Pharmacy owners, managers, dispensers, counter staff and pharmacy locums.
There has been lot of posts on social media regarding petitions as of late, which I agree is a good way to lobby our concerns; however, over the last 6 months, even with over 2 million signatures, the government has not backed off of plans to reduce pharmacy funding!

What does this mean to our pharmacies in the England?
Well, what it means is that there will be a reduced pharmacy funding between December 2016 and March 2017 by 12% on current levels, and furthermore funding would be reduced 2017-2018 by 7.4%.
This will have a big impact on the community pharmacies across the country, be it big or small, and yes, it may potentially lead to closures if implemented.. BUT as community pharmacy businesses;
- Have we planned enough to sustain funding cuts that will make impact our businesses?
- Have we looked at new strategies that we could implement to make our businesses more resistant to decreased funding?
- Have we looked at upskilling our staff to take on more responsibility so we can improve the services we offer?
- Do we as owners and/or managers of community pharmacies participate in all the pharmacy services available in our area? 

These are just a few questions we need to ask ourselves.

The landscape for the future of community pharmacy is changing. We know that the government thinks that there is an oversupply of community pharmacies, as a result of which we have been pushed into having more fears about closures over the last 9 months, but the truth of the matter is that:
- EACH community pharmacy business is DIFFERENT
- EACH one has different FACTORS that effect the way they OPERATE
- EACH pharmacy will have different OVERHEADS which will decide on how PROFITABLE they will be

It is my belief that community pharmacy is at the crossroads AND we strongly need our representative bodies to protect our funding budgets.
Nonetheless, ALL of us have to be prepared to change our business plans and build systems that will protect our businesses.

There is still profit in pharmacy business; there is still demand from buyers in the sector to buy pharmacies.

While there is a demand there is hope for growth, we have to be prepared for our future survival.
The PSNC, NPA and other relevant organisations are willing to support us by offering guidance or negotiating on our behalf to protect our funding even though they can not fight the battles in our individual pharmacies.
If you want to sustain your business you have to fight for it; take the fear of closures away and think of the opportunities that are available to help push your businesses forward.

STOP, LISTEN to your STAFF, LISTEN to IDEAS and above all else PLEASE your PATIENTS because they will SUSTAIN your BUSINESS.

Remember SMALL ideas bring BIG changes….

Please pass this message on to everyone worried about pharmacy funding cuts, if you interested in learning more ways to help support your business please get in touch with me [email protected] I want to produce some free webinars to help share the knowledge and experiences of people who are working hard to help make pharmacy GREAT again.

Useful resources for you to look over:

https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/save-our-pharmacies

https://www.npa.co.uk/news-and-events/news-item/essential-pharmacy-business-pack/

http://www.p3pharmacy.co.uk/your-business-plan-for-2016

http://www.p3pharmacy.co.uk/cost-control-for-pharmacy

http://www.pharmacyknowhow.co.uk/pharmacy-know-how.html

http://www.chemistanddruggist.co.uk/feature/how-give-your-pharmacy-makeover

http://www.pharmacistsupport.org/

http://www.slideshare.net/altafvaiya/cash-flow-2013

Kind Regards

Altaf Vaiya

#pharmacy #supportyourlocalpharmacy

Chris Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Begrudgingly accept pharmacy shouldn't be immune to the savings that are happening to the NHS but the govt should be under no illusion that there will be consequences for patients and users of pharmacies. Contractors, especially multiples are swallowing the cuts and demanding more from staff to make up for reduced profits, the consequences are already evident. Fewer staff hours, ever-increasing targets, more pressure, stressed staff and this will continue, and quality of service is already suffering...instead of passing the burden of cuts onto staff its about time contractors passed these realitites onto patients - ending free deliveries, free MDS, free repeat ordering. No wonder the govt thinks pharmacy owners are raking it in.

R A, Community pharmacist

This is the end game for pharmacy once the independents and small chains are squeezed out of the game. The multiples will end free delivery, MDS, repeat ordering and start closing branches down and the best thing is the blame will be defaulted to NHS cuts. 

Locum Morgan, Locum pharmacist

I'm struggling to reconcile the dire warnings that thousands of pharmacies could close because of the proposed funding cuts with the spectacular prices being asked for pharmacies for sale in C&D. One advert states that an average of 8 offers are made for each pharmacy offered with a high number of disappointed purchasers. Another states that 'demand for pharmacies in all areas remains extremely strong and goodwill values being correspondingly high'. 

Isn't it a nonsense that pharmacies are going to go from extremely high profits quoted in the C&D UK pharmacies for sale pages to making a loss whereby they then go to the wall? 

Isn't the truth that if profits were to reduce to a modest level that would only pay the actually running costs of a pharmacy and wages for a pharmacist and one or two dispensers (nothing more for international shareholders or private equity tycoons) then many pharmacies would simply be put up for sale for whatever they would fetch?  Viability would then only be found with a pharmacy being actually owned and operated by an actual pharmacist. Same model as in the rest of Europe and indeed the rest of the world. 

Charles Whitfield Bott, Pharmacist Director

No

Prices are linked to supply not profit. If this goes thorough and shops close (mostly indipendents presumably) then the number of shops that may be able to be purchesed will reduce, and as a result prices will increase. If you think that these cuts will give you a route into ownership and a diversification of the market you are wrong.

 

In fact I belive it is more likely that there will be a consolidation, with the multiples getting larger, once they have a greater control of the pharmacy estate and therfore jobs your rates as a locum are going to drop further.

max falconer, Superintendent Pharmacist

Valuations have nothing much to do with the profitability or availability of pharmacies. It's almost all as a result of ultra low interest rates. This has been responsible for asset price inflation is all areas from houses to classic cars. Investors are desperately seeking yield.

Almost irrespective of cuts in funding, pharmacies will continue to attract what many consider ridiculous valuations. Until the government is forced to abandon it's disastrous policy of tax, borrow and spend there will be no real recovery in the economy or a return of normaility in all areas of asset pricing.

 

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

While everyone seems to be whooping with delight that "contractors are getting their just rewards" please bear in mind that employee Pharmacists are likely to pay a heavy price in all this.

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Please support the government's attempt to stop waste, rein in pharmacy owners and give the taxpayer a better deal. The NHS has become a charity for pharmacy owners, there is a lot of waste, and many pharmacists would want you to believe that giving them more money equals better patient care. The truth is there are too many pharmacies and pharmacists, the taxpayer should not guarantee income to pharmacists and pharmacy owners irrespective of numbers. Channel 4 should make a programme - Benefits Street, the pharmaceutical edition.
Too many pharmacists are already unashamably giving out medications in the consultation room and badger customers into MURs and NMRs for financial gain for their employers? The recent publicity on these issues highlights the need for reform.

Chris Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

What the cuts will actually mean are not less pharmacies or pharmacists but less pay for employees and fewer staff in pharmacies, few pharmacies will actually close...workload burdens will continue to rise especially as contractors attempt to clawback loss of income and pharmacies will become increasingly unsafe and stressful to work in which neither benefits workers or the general public...some basic understanding of the consequences would be advised before commenting.

Paul Miyagi, Information Technology

You are 100% correct Sau Sheung . In the Midlands particularly, every corner you turn there is a chemist, wholly unnecessary and at a great cost to taxpayer. There needs to be control on pharmacy's and pharmacist numbers . 

Paul Summerfield, Community pharmacist

Why not kill 2 birds with one stone? Kill off MUR and NMS. It will save approximately £120 million a year alone from abolishing the MUR funding. Further, MUR and NMS will then not be able to form any part of the KPI (aka target / ambition) which will reduce the managerial stress that pharmacists are put under. Finally, there will be no more MUR cases for the regulator to consider. A "win" for the pharmacist - no more directed pressure to deliver, no more sleepless nights.

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

Kill off NMS, yes, seems we duplicate what the surgery do, but reduce MURs to maybe 50 to 100 depending on item numbers. I'm sure we can all find 1 or 2 people a week we can book in who may actually benefit from one?! 

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

What are the unique patient characteristics that make it likely that benefit will be derived from an MUR? How many of these patients exist as a percentage of a given pharmacies prescription numbers?  Why 400? Why £28. There is no reason or evidence behind any of these numbers, they were literally a blind guess made by government bureaucrats desperate to create the illusion of taxpayer value. Reducing numbers is the arbitrary act of diluting established  stupidity. 

With a government that does not understand what it controls and private contractors wanting cartel protection, pharmacy funding is always going to be a nonsense. As an employee pharmacist you are the enabler trapped between this nexus of clinical stupidity and private profiteering. 

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

The MUR/NMS 'service' serves a propaganda role for both sides. The post Thatcher/Reagan consensus has been that state provision of services is necessarily wasteful and inefficient. The 'third way' politics of Clinton/Blair contended that government could provide services efficiently by using private contractors. 

Of course, much of the claimed effiencies were illusory. The government set arbitrary and meaningless targets that supposedly demonstrated taxpayer value, when in fact they merely incentivised payment for valueless activity. Both parties benefited from this relationship. Private companies maximised profit because they were able to efficiently carry out pointless activity. Government could make themselves appear competent by making disingenuous claims for taxpayer value to an ill informed taxpayer.

The NMS/MUR 'service' is that mutually beneficial lie within community pharmacy. The unknowing patient is that ill informed taxpayer. You only have to listen to the meaningless guff spouted by pharmacy ministers and absurdly interested positions taken by contractors to see this in action. 

Mehmet Fopal, Pre-reg Pharmacist

For a second i thought the PSNC had secured the funding until i read "till March 2017" 

 

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

Whats going on????

The proposed cuts were originally 6 percent...they are now twelve percent!!!!!!!

They are intent on making pharmacy extinct.

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

It was 6 percent for the financial year 2016 -17 to be collected October to March at 12% per month for 6 months to total 170 million. It is now 12% per month for 4 months totalling 120 million for 2016-17 . This equates to a 4% reduction in the global sum. However they are now taking 200 million out for 2017-18 . That will be a 7.4 % reduction in the global sum for 2017-18 compared to 2015-16

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

C'mon, it's the Christmas spirit!

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

"PSNC rejects offer of 12% pharmacy funding cut..."

What does that mean anyway?

Is it in the same way the junior doctors "rejected" the government contract? Do the PSNC think they are in a bargaining position? Maybe they should talk to the junior doctors...

Simon MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

same deal as last year except the pretence that HUb and spoke would magically help us balance our books  has gone. This contract will free up pharmacists time to do other things.... like go down the job centre, or work in Maccy D's

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

The chicks have come home to roost!!! After treating Professional pharmacists with contempt I have NO sympathy period, its about time the greedy contractors got a taste of their own medicine they have been dishing out to their employees.

I think the cuts DONT go far enough, they should be far deeper.

Jupo Patel, Production & Technical

Wow ! I'm baffled as to the discord between contractors and their employees. I thought community pharmacists  make lots of money. My local chemist drives an open top Jag. Pardon my possible ignorance but somebody please explain.

SP Ph, Community pharmacist

Which public sector are you from and do you walk to your work?? If you drive, is it the choice you make for the vehicle or your purse?

Jupo Patel, Production & Technical

Insults!? I'd have thought it best to save your energies to save yourselves if things are really so bad.

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