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Download C+D's funding cut letter and send to your MP

The letter urges MPs to call for a debate on the funding cut in parliament

Raise awareness of the planned funding drop by using C+D's template, which summarises the potentially damaging effects of the cuts

EXCLUSIVE

C+D has written a template letter for pharmacists to send to their local MP to raise awareness of the proposed 6% cut to pharmacy funding in England.

The letter highlights the potentially damaging effects the cut will have on pharmacy businesses and patients when it is introduced in October, and urges MPs to call for a debate in parliament.

For pharmacists and patients who choose to engage with their MP through other means, the letter can also provide some suggestions about how they may want to approach that conversation.

The letter refers to a C+D poll of almost 550 readers last week, which revealed that nearly half will reduce staff to cope with the cuts.

Find your MP's contact details

Visit this link and type your postcode into the search box to find the email and postal addresses of your local MP.

CLICK HERE to download the letter.

 

More on the funding cuts...

PSNC warns of 'far larger' funding cuts to come

Funding cuts equivalent to 12% 'net' loss over 6 months

Pharmacy funding cuts: Everything you need to know

 

49 Comments

Doug Hinstridge,

A quick read through these comments brings me to this conclusion for what it's worth.

"Divided we fall."

3000 fewer employment opportunities for locums and 3000 more pharmacists looking for that work, I can't see locum rates or conditions of employment improving anytime soon.

Oh yes, somewhere in all this debate we should probably consider the patient rather than wasting time and energy arguing amongst ourselves.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Are you still carrying on the pretence that patients come first. lol. The same line spun by the multiples and good old Kirit. Oh yes and you should remind the government too.

\

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Much worse for whom? As a zero-sum game for market share, it will be better for some. Do you think the multiples will cooperate with independents or betray with silence? As conditions deteriorated rapidly for employee/locum pharmacists over the last five years, any complaint was met with 'you are not owed a living'. Most of these pharmacists have, over those five years, come to terms with that mentality. They have been conditioned to except an inevitable decline in their prospects and have accepted the take it or leave it response. Now they are being told they are in fact owed a living, all of a sudden the government owes them a more generous contract, they should not take what they are given - they should send letters to their MP. Perversely, when this duplicity has been questioned, the veil slips and the old mentality quickly returns - 'if we go down you will be coming with us' goes the threat. But they cannot be scared anymore, they have had five years to learn to accept the doubling of the number of pharmacy schools, the mass importation of foreign labour, the huge increase in workloads, the vicious target culture and the 20% cut in wages. It was stressful, it was painful, it was demoralising. For those thousands of pharmacies that are likely to close, I could signal my virtue by pretending I care about the cuts, but I don't, I'm indifferent, I have been cultured to be so. In time those pharmacists affected will see the inevitable, they will be told they are not owed a living, they will come to accept it. 

Paul Mayberry, Community pharmacist

The C&D letter is now out of date. The situation is much worse. It has become clearer that the government will make more & more cuts until it drives 3000 pharmacies to close. Instead of just writing a letter why don't you invite your MP to visit your pharmacy and see what its like first hand. My local MP came in last week.

 

 

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Could affected pharmacists also invite their local MP to visit and observe their poor and sometimes illegal working conditions? How come the panic all of a sudden? 

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

As the oversupply of pharmacists gathered pace, owners talked about the 'cream rising to the top'. They said that pharmacist unemployment was a good thing as 'natural selection' would ensure that only those who could adapt and respond to the demands of pharmacy owners would survive. Now, when the government wants to apply the same philosophy, owners stage the most remarkable volte-face and without shame ask for support from the very pharmacists they previously would have seen unemployed. This is a miscalculation made by owners. Firstly, as a matter of principle, employee/locum pharmacists will not ignore this duplicity. Secondly, they responded to the threats of unemployment by developing the very attitude that was being promoted - self-preservation. Thirdly, employee/locum pharmacists have nothing to lose and cannot be threatened with the inevitable. The over-supply of pharmacists will reach the point of no return, regardless of these closures. At the point in which 30 people apply for a job, it doesn't matter if 40 apply. Working conditions were terrible to start with and were only going to get worse, regardless of these closures. Wages have fallen and were going to continue to fall, again regardless of these closures. At the point that wages reach £15/hour, it doesn't matter if you threaten £14, pharmacists can walk away and with ease find a much less stressful job for the very same £15. You have nothing left to threaten us with and with an inevitable long-run we have nothing more to lose and this will explain why very few pharmacists will bother to send this letter. 

 

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Sami mentions that natural selection should decide whic pharmacies survive and honestly confesses that there is still a lot of money being made by contractors and people want him blocked fro posting. I mention the poor pay and conditions and sheer arrogance of some contractors and people ask for me to be blocked. I wonder now that you have reiterated all of this so eloquently if there will be a call for you to be  blocked also. As for the letter be thankful I don't draft an alternative letter giving an account of the dodgy and fraudalent practices of contractors I witness draining NHS funds. And in addition the terrible and sometimes illegal conditions imposed on employees/locums. That would certainly make intereting reading. I wonder if Kirit and co would allow C&D post the template on here so pharmacists can download and send on to their MP.

 

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

The most dangerous employee is the one who has nothing left to lose. Let's take MURs as an ideal example: 1) There is no evidence whatsoever for their cost-effectiveness 2) The Drug Tariff specification could, on paper, be met with an MUR that takes less than five minutes to complete 3) There are numerous 'methods' in which patients signatures could be obtained for an MUR that hasn't been carried out to the Drug Tariff specification 4) The public at large does not know they are paying £28 for the brief chat that they are often coerced into having 5) A pernicious target culture could be exposed that contradicts the original clinical premise of the service.

 

So one might propose the possibility that MURs have no good reason to be carried out, can be legally carried out as a tick box exercise, can be carried out against specification without detection, are paid for by an uninformed, vulnerable and manipulated public and are quantity driven by a punitive culture of bullying. One might further propose that former pharmacists might write to certain newspapers or start their own online blog offering their experiences as an 'insider' into this suggested nefarious world of community pharmacy. 

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

NP8 anyone? Awfully quiet from contractors?!

Simon MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

i have never pursued mur's for mur sake and have never made a locum do any. I am now trying to get as many under my belt to try and keep the business viable. My current locum loves doing them, so much so that theres more undispensed items left for me after a day off ! But hey, swings and roundabouts !

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

All Quiet on the Contractor's Front.

James Spiral, Community pharmacist

.

Graham Phillips, Superintendent Pharmacist

When  is the last time an employer stood up for locums? Sorry to disabuse some of your misconceptions but I do so all the time. I will avoid the temptation to name-calling and insults but do you not realise we are all in this together? As an employer I have to maintian the viability of my business (which was already under tremendous strain). The only way I can do so is cutting costs and the only costs I can cut are the variable costs- and guess what? 95% of my variable costs are staffing.

 

I REPEAT: WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. We need too be united (like the medical profession and the Junior doctors). Some of you need a major rethink

 

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

So Graham,

Have you increased the pay for your staff at the same rate as the global sum (since 2005)?

A simple yes or no. Similarly, whilst saying that you need to make a return have you been buying more pharmacies to expand your chain of pharmacies ? A simple yes or no.

Lets establish some facts first, then we can discuss the merits of what you say.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Nice try but we're certainly not all in it together. That is a lie usually spun to pacify those hardest hit. I'll stick my neck and say employee are not in the same boat as their paymasters, certainly not if they're a multiple. Now you suddenly need all the support available you try that age old trick. Sorry not buying it old chum. Why would I waste my energy and time fighting for you to maintain YOUR profits and deplorable work conditions. You download your template and send to your MP and send hope for the best. Nothing worse than those who assume everybody else is stupid.

 

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

If you are a pharmacist of any substantial experience you will know who is most likely to stab you in the back, take  advantage of any weakness in your position, inform on you regarding any minor infraction, treat you without due respect - thats right - another pharmacist. I have never seen, in my entire career, a pharmacist defend another pharmacist on the shop floor, not on a single occasion. Even when a pharmacist has been treated very unfairly and that pharmacist has been blatantly bullied, not on a single occasion have I seen another pharmacist step forward in their defence. Not on a single occasion have I ever seen a pharmacist manager help another pharmacist manager who is struggling. Not on a single occasion have I seen a pharmacist manager pull out all the stops to make sure that a locum has a pleasant day in their branch. Not on a single occasion have I seen a pharmacist take on branch staff about their treatment of another pharmacist. Not on a single occasion have I seen a pharmacist, whilst attending an out-hours-event, speak out stridently against an obviously disingenuous presentation and then be backed-up vocally by the fellow attendees. Not on a single occasion have I seen a pharmacist area manager not judge a fellow pharmacist with such vigour and priority as with MUR numbers. Of course, these things may have happened, but they are of such rarity as to make them freak events. To call for unity and solidarity now, after decades of such mutual mistreatment, is pure hypocrisy. 

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Yours is a very rare opinion in comparison to the uniform accounts often seen here. Many of those crying for strikes and unity etc.... At the moment are the very same ones guilty of a lot of what you state above. Withholding pay on purpose, no staff, no breaks, veiled threats of the sack, pressure to fabricate NMS/MURs to hit ridiculous targets, bullying and the list goes on. The only use I'd find for that template later would be if I suddenly ran out of loo roll.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Yours is a very rare opinion in comparison to the uniform accounts often seen here. Many of those crying for strikes and unity etc.... At the moment are the very same ones guilty of a lot of what you state above. Withholding pay on purpose, no staff, no breaks, veiled threats of the sack, pressure to fabricate NMS/MURs to hit ridiculous targets, bullying and the list goes on. The only use I'd find for that template later would be if I suddenly ran out of loo roll.

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

Some might argue to quote Cameron ' we are all in it together ' when the recession hit in 2008 but do not include the fat cats such bankers and  polticians and  so the richer get richer and the plebs  get poorer !!

The same analogy applies to pharmacy the contractors for years have been happy to sell to the big boys and cuttings staff costs such as locum wages rather then stand up to the government but now the s**t hits the fan then the contractors are shouting we are all in it together , makes you laugh but deathly silence from the likes of lloyds and boots and rent a quote kirit probably because they are the winners and probably been tipped off by the government  because i am sorry to say graham they would be happy for your business  to go down the pan so they can have a monopoly for the likes of boots and lloyds you are just collateral damage in the big plan.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

I wonder if a multiple/contractor would sign a petition for better working conditions and pay for staff?

Old Timer, Manager

when some small  Villages with a populatuion of 8000 have 3 phaharmacies all belonging to the same chain something is wrong and change is needed ,one with 3 pharmacists would provide a better service .

 

Simon MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

yes -

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Any examples? I suppose you're saying Boots for instance would lead a campaign for better work conditions for their over worked staff. I'll be waiting for that one. lol.

Simon MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

So Alistair Burns- dementia friendly community dosn't involve pharmacy

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

mason , why are you so against free speech?

 

Its a valid question - WHAT is there in it for locums? so what if a few pharmacies close...

if they are viable, some one else will open..

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

C&D only really represents contractors and multiples(look at the constant adverts for Day Lewis for instance )so the viewsof employees/locums stand out like a sore thumb and are quickly shouted down as trolls.

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

When is the last time a contractor stood up for locums?

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

I would suppose it's not in their interest. In the same way it's not in my interest to work in sweat shop conditions for poor pay which is I why I choose not to. So why then would I campaign on behalf of  such organisations and employers? 

Yuna Mason, Sales

On an annual basis it's a 12% cut not 6% as its applied over 6 months instead of 12. Might want to make that clear in the letter. Also items will increase by circa 4% so it will feel like 16%.

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

The real danger is in the next round of cuts. If enough pharmacies do not close with the initial cuts (and I bet none will) then they will keep cutting until the 3000 odd do. The issue is who will break first ? the independents or the multiples ? My bet is the multiples will capitulate first and we WILL reclaim our profession.

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