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Category M reimbursement prices to soar by £15m in June, DH announces

PSNC chief executive Simon Dukes said the extra money “is not enough”
PSNC chief executive Simon Dukes said the extra money “is not enough”

Category M reimbursement prices are set to increase by £15 million in June, the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) has announced.

The £15m per month increase is “based on margin data from 2019/20”, as well as “predictions for delivery in 2020/21”, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said today (May 19).

This will continue to be monitored by the PSNC and the DH “in order to identify if, and when, further increases are required", the negotiator said.

C+D has asked PSNC to clarify how long the increased reimbursement prices will last until.

Category M prices for June 2020 can be found on the NHS Business Services Authority website (NHS BSA).

“Not enough”

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the PSNC said it has “repeatedly highlighted the significant cash flow problems” facing contractors to the DH.

It has also made representations to NHS England & NHS Improvement, as well as the government, about the “urgent need for more investment in community pharmacies”.

A funding bid, which is “separate to discussions on margin”, is still being considered by the Treasury, the PSNC said.

PSNC chief executive Simon Dukes said that while the reimbursement prices “should help to ease some of the procurement challenges being faced by contractors”, the extra money “is not enough”.

“All pharmacies are facing significant and wide-ranging financial issues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are continuing to press for urgent additional investment in the sector,” he added.

What do you make of the reimbursement increase?

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

Interesting that I got a phone call from the GPHC asking independent contractors how they have fared during the covid lockdown. I was gobsmacked to say the least as my encouters and the way I perceive them is they are solely money collectors and ready to strike pharmacists off.

Interesting for her to say that they will start lobbying the NHS for extra funding (only previously done in recent years by PSNC). 

I'm not holding my breath but at least it's a step in the right direction. Just look at what the GMC, the regulatory body for the medics, have done

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Lobbying for more money for contractors, suppressing locum wages. The GPhC are all singing and dancing these days. Fantastic.

Dave Downham, Manager

Did they ask for your bank account number and mother's maiden name as well?

Dave Downham, Manager

I stand to be shot down here, but Mr Dukes seems to be making some headway. He's not tugging his forelock* and saying thanks for the crumbs, but saying it's a start, but community pharmacy still needs more. At least the tone of his statements is a tad more assertive than his predecessor.

(*Not that he's got a forelock...)

Dave Downham, Manager

...oh, and I'm not sure that "soar" is the correct term. Maybe "get closer to the agreed allowable purchase profit"

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