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COVID-19: English pharmacies to receive £300m in “advance funding”

The advanced funding is to help contractors with cashflow problems caused by COVID-19

Community pharmacies in England will receive £300 million in “advance funding” over the next two months to alleviate cashflow issues caused by COVID-19, the PSNC has announced.

The total sum will be “paid as uplifts to contractors’ January and February payments” – payable in April and May.

The £300m is not new money for the sector and will have to be “reconciled at a later date”, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) announced today (March 31).

The advance funding is “recognition of the significant cashflow pressures facing the sector at this point in the COVID-19 pandemic”, it said.

There will be two cash injections, with the first payment of £200m made on or around April 1. The second payment, of £100m, will be made at the end of April or early May, the PSNC added.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) is “working to recalculate payments”, with the intention that the initial £200m will be paid alongside the planned April 1 payment.

The PSNC said it is “in ongoing discussions about the need for more funding for the sector” to help contractors with costs arising from “increasing prescription numbers, staffing costs, one-off costs and rising drugs bills” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While this funding injection is a step in the right direction, PSNC has told HM Government that it is not sufficient to cover contractors’ rising costs and to help them to manage the new pressures on their businesses,” the negotiator added.

“Funding gesture is not enough”

Although the organisation “welcomes” the intention of the forward payment, the “funding gesture alone is not enough”, PSNC chief executive Simon Dukes commented.

The negotiator has informed the government that “it simply will not be sufficient to help many contractors to meet the rapidly increasing costs that they are facing as a result of this pandemic”, he said.

“Community pharmacy is at a critical point, with pharmacy teams and businesses under extreme pressure and many pharmacies now not financially viable,” Mr Dukes added.

The PSNC and other pharmacy bodies are trying to “persuade” the government of the “very urgent need for further emergency funding support”, he said.

What do you make of the new funding arrangement?

Ex Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Pharmacy is a waste of time. Were the arsehole of the entire system. As positive as I try to be and do what I can to skill up such as advanced private training and my prescribing course... it's becoming more and more difficult to maintain hope. RPS do nothing. PSNC do nothing. GPHC away with the fairies as usual. Strike? demand respect? Or do we shut down and let pharmacy become an internet drone health line?

C A, Community pharmacist

Ah well we could always negotiate some extra money for opening over Easter... what do you mean we've been told we have to... how much are they paying us again? Oh nothing. Super great!

How High?, Community pharmacist

If this had been published one day later I'd have laughed at the joke.

It is a joke right?

I mean the DoH are chucking trillions at everything else right?

Oh yeah, sorry, we're getting some NHS volunteers to do the deliveries. Good luck when they bugger something up...........


On Break, Community pharmacist

Why not give us the money that would be paid for the last 100 murs we'll ever do now we can't provide them due to social distancing rules. My consultation room is less than 2m wide. 

Dave Downham, Manager

Anyone any idea how the advance has been calculated?

Dave Downham, Manager

I think it's 30.1% of the payment in advance for February, but stand to be corrected...?

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

No One knows.

The NHSBSA says 

""The first, of £200million will give the average pharmacy contractor a circa 26% uplift in their 1 April payment* and the second of £100 million will give the average pharmacy a circa 13% uplift in their 1 May payment. **""

One of my friend (small indi CIRCA 2600 items) calculated the advance, which is about 25% of what they paid for January submissions.

So, the word CIRCA may mean +/- x%.

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

Next step should be full page ads in every newspaper,say No more deliveries from community pharmacy from next week as DoH have chosen to starve pharmacy if cash and has failed to come up with a satisfactory settlement for delivery and covid expenses
Despite the Chancellor's pledge and Boris's video, we are obviously not important to the NHS.
As things stand look out for pharmacies going bankrupt very soon.

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

I am told this wasnt the PSNCs fault, for a change...I wonder who else may have been chatting to the DoH recently

O J, Community pharmacist

The british prime minister has publicly acknowledged our services and efforts. I think that should suffice.
What more do you want?

Watto 59, Community pharmacist

I hope sarcasm was intended in your comment?

C A, Community pharmacist

Yes, or did you not know that a thank you from Borris was worth £1million?

John Urwin, Community pharmacist

"PSNC says no thanks. We don't want a penny until you give us more money with no strings attached. We refuse to accept a penny until a final deal has been agreed. If a few pharmacies close while we negotiate, so be it. Principles matter!". Wild applause from C and D commenters.

mark straughton, Pharmaceutical Adviser

What a silly comment to make. In these times when businessses have gone under, mass unemployment to follow and whole industries decimated within a space of weeks- to even suggest a government dept to make a funding deal is irresponsible and selfish. The taxpayer won't give us simpathy here 

JINISH PATEL, Community pharmacist

Please support your local pharmacy to reduce pressure on NHS and provide better patient care.

Please sign the petition


Mr Anon, Community pharmacist

Advanced payment? What does that solve? This sector needs more respect and more funding, now more than ever. If the government can't see that, whether that's due to inept sector leaders or info falling on deaf ears, then this will destroy pharmacy's faith in its government. 

This is a time to serve our community safely and effectively but at the end of the day, financial pressures and staffing issues are making this near impossible. If Pharmacy was to make a stand, now is the time. If all pharmacies close due to necessity or if they all reduce their working hours (10-12, 2-4), what will the government and PHE do then?



Tariq Iqbal, Accuracy checking technician

Agree. Its time the health secretary woke up and gave us funds rather than an advance even a bank can give 15 to 25k advance is he taking the

Ebers Papyrus, Pharmaceutical Adviser

PSNC will certainly be aware that community pharmacy is finally no longer willing. NHS England's decade long treatment and support for community pharmacy has been unforgivable. 

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

Why does it appear to me that GPs shut up shop and tell patients to bugger off (sorry - see your Pharmacist or call NHS111) and will no doubt be handed a bag of money for doing so much during the crisis, while pharmacies - the people  who ACTUALLY DO THE WORK - are given THEIR OWN MONEY and told to think we are being well looked after and appreciated. IF it wasn't so laughable you would weep!

O J, Community pharmacist

Bravo lads. A massive pat on the back for securing an unbelievable deal.

N patel , Non Pharmacist Branch Manager


The PSNC and other pharmacy bodies are trying to “persuade” the government of the “very urgent need for further emergency funding support”, he said...... THIS SAYS IT ALL... THE CHANCELLOR HAS APPARENTLY GOT TRILLIONS TO GIVE HE REST OF THE COUNTRY BUT ZILCH FOR ONE OF THE FEW SECTORS IN THE NHS THAT DID NOT LET ITS PATIENTS DOWN


Tariq Iqbal, Accuracy checking technician

Get Matt Hancock in a meeting with me And lets get him work 1 week in a pharmacy he wont last an hour never mind 1 week. Put the money where the sun dont shine

N patel , Non Pharmacist Branch Manager



SydBashford Sold&Retired&DeRegistered, Community pharmacist

:-0    Unbelievable !!!! Un-bloody-believable!!!

Alexander The Great, Community pharmacist

The £300m is not new money for the sector and will have to be “reconciled at a later date”

That makes me chuckle... like everything they have ever offered us, they take it away and give it back looking like they've done us a huge favour and a push in the right direction.


Ultimately, I will say it again and again. PEOPLE WANT THEIR SCRIPTS ON TIME. Until the government can fund us at the correct lvl for staff cover and costs, do not bother to discuss anything else. WE DONT HAVE THE TIME.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

There is a reason we don't get our year's worth of wages in one go.
There is a reason students don't get their entire maintenance loan in one go.

C A, Community pharmacist

That's not the problem - the rest of the world is seemingly getting "new" money to help them with the COVID crisis! Whereas CP is getting it own money in advance to pay back, which means that we are merely delaying the cash-flow problems

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