Welsh pharmacists will not escape the government’s planned cuts to pharmacy funding in England, Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW) has warned.
If the UK government slashes pharmacists' fees and allowances in England as part of the 6% cut, Welsh pharmacists will suffer because the two countries share elements of a contractual framework, chief executive Russell Goodway said.
This will leave the Welsh government searching for another "pot of money" if it wants to maintain pharmacy funding at its current level, he told C+D last week (March 8).
"We will have early discussions with the government to see what the possibilities are," he said.
Welsh government: 2016-17 Funding safe
His warning came after Welsh health minister Mark Drakeford reassured contractors that their funding for the next financial year is safe.
However, it will be up to the next government – chosen during Welsh elections in May – to decide future funding in light of the changes in England, he said.
CPW not part of negotiations
Mr Goodway stressed that he does not know how the 6% cut to the English global sum will be made because CPW is not part of negotiations on the changes.
"The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) deals with that aspect. It's an unknown," he said.
CPW will sit down with contractors in the near future to discuss how the Welsh pharmacy network can “positively respond” to the cuts, he said.
Welsh pharmacies unlikely to close
It is unlikely that the cuts will close many Welsh pharmacies, he said, because unlike in England, the country did not implement the 100-hour exemption for control of market entry.
But pharmacies could close if they can’t replace lost money by introducing new services, he said.
“There’s certainly not going to be a blank cheque from Welsh government to keep pharmacies open regardless,” he warned.