Pharmacists are willing to scrap free services to try and cope with government funding cuts, a survey of Numark members has revealed.
More than six in 10 of 112 members surveyed by the support group said they may stop delivering medicines to patients for free because of the planned 6% cut to the global sum in England, according to the survey results.
The same proportion would consider stopping other free services, such as prescription collection and monitored dosage systems (MDS), the results showed.
Three-quarters of members polled are likely to reduce permanent staff costs along with locum hours or rates, Numark told C+D today (February 22).
Numark members are also sceptical of government plans to change the law to allow independents to operate hub-and-spoke dispensing: only 4% of respondents said they are likely to adopt this model.
More than eight in 10 members are likely to put investment plans – including refits – on the back-burner because of the cuts, the survey revealed.
Vulnerable patients worst hit
The survey shows that vulnerable patients will be the "ultimate losers" of funding cuts, according to Numark managing director John D'Arcy.
“I would urge contractors to review how they can increase their income before they make cuts that will weaken their competitive situation,” Mr D’Arcy said.
It is "inevitable" that independents will increase their own working hours, which “cannot be good for them, their families or the long-term viability of their business", he added.