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Matt Hancock wants to ‘drive more money towards pharmacy’

Mr Hancock said he wants to “do a deal” with pharmacies
Mr Hancock said he wants to “do a deal” with pharmacies

Health secretary Matt Hancock wants to “drive more money towards pharmacy” within the NHS budget, he said on LBC’s Call The Cabinet television segment today (September 7).

The health secretary was asked by interviewer Nick Ferrari if he will be asking Rishi Sunak, the chancellor of the exchequer, for more money for the sector after Mr Hancock described himself as a “massive, massive fan of pharmacists”.

Mr Hancock said that he “want[s] to drive more money towards pharmacy” from within the NHS budget, which he said “is going up”.

“I want to do a deal with pharmacies where we offer more NHS services to be delivered in pharmacies and we pay people for that,” he explained.

“I think that pharmacists can do far more, and they are the front door to the NHS in the community,” Mr Hancock added.

£370m advance funding

A DH spokesperson said: "During this unprecedented pandemic, £370 million has been made in advance payments to support pharmacies in maintaining medicine supplies and providing health advice.

"We are continuing to engage with the sector on funding to meet extra costs incurred during the peak of the pandemic."

Last week, a report by accountancy firm Ernst & Young warned that under the current funding model, the provision of services may be financially unviable for pharmacies in England.

In response this report, pharmacy bodies have called for greater funding to avoid closures and financial ruin for pharmacy contractors.

25 Comments
Question: 
What do you make of Mr Hancock's comments?

Anthony Boughton, Superintendent Pharmacist

Dispensing medicines is a service too Mr Hancock! 

R A, Community pharmacist

How many times have I heard this promise?

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

When he sacks the "dh Spokesperson" for spouting demoralising lies and sorts the funding, i might think he may be worth bothering with but what he is actually saying is, that the staus quo remains funding wise, but by working even harder we might be thrown a few more crumbs, in order to save the poor overworked GPs from having to move from their sofas and do some work

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

Crooks and con artists.

sunil maini, Community pharmacist

Simple.Prove it.Pay us for what we did whilst all others stayed at home during lock-down.Then we will believe your jibber-jabber....

Axed Locum, Locum pharmacist

And will you pay more to your employees and Locums........... Sunil says, oh no, that's criminal.... Its for me, me, me, me, me,  cos you lot are not worth it..

sunil maini, Community pharmacist

You do not know me.I gave my staff £500 each for their work during lockdown,on top of paying double time for overtime during this period.My small business grant of £10000 all went to my staff.So UP YOURS axed locum!

Matthew Edwards, Community pharmacist

Well said sunil.  Unfortunately whilst people like axed locum continually air views in this manner in forums like this the profession will be fragmented.  Instead of taking cheap shots maybe a frank and honest discussion with the contractors that are paying the low rates would be a more productive approach

Axed Locum, Locum pharmacist

We have been treated with contempt for the best part of 20 years. We have been driven out of the profession, through low pay, bullying and harrasment.Always bullying us to carry out advanced and enhanced services for nil consideration, despite the contractors being paid reasonably for those services.For example, for "Flu" vaccinations instead of offering a fair fee for this service, they are bullying us to do them for nothing!! I will be generous and say, the DOH should pay the contractors £1.00 for each one, and they will soon realise how worthless it makes a person feel.

Owen Davies, Locum pharmacist

Why did you get axed?

Axed Locum, Locum pharmacist

For refusing to be exploited, bullied, and compromising my professional independence.

Owen Davies, Locum pharmacist

Are you still working as a locum pharmacist?

sunil maini, Community pharmacist

Thank you Matthew.Not all contractors are after every penny for themselves.Without staff we are nothing,and I believe most independent contractors know this.I pay my regular locum £26 per hour,and yes,she also got the £500 bonus!I could make comments re axed locum,but I will choose not to.....

Ravi Patel, Community pharmacist

A rising tide lifts all ships. When there's more money in the pharmacy system, locum rates will rise. Ignoring workforce supply/some additional pharmacy schools, it's no coincidence that the rates really started dropping steadily when funding kept continually dropping. I've been a locum and contractor and truly feel unity in the profession can be win-win, just as disharmony can be lose-lose. There are some stingy contractors as there are some rubbish locums, but overall extra funding in the sector should benefit all good operations and locums. 

sunil maini, Community pharmacist

Ravi,

True facts, well expressed

Axed Locum, Locum pharmacist

it hasn't been like that for the past two decades. when there was a steady rise in the global sum for the contractors, the locum rate did not rise in tandem. There is evidence that the NHS pharmacy contract is a licence to print money, and hence the pent up demand to own pharmacies.Contractors have been pleading poverty and lamenting mass closures. Neither is true, but there is a cartel amongst the contractors to take advantage of the current situation and pay the least amount possible!!, currently a paltry £19.00 p/h if a locum is lucky

R A, Community pharmacist

Since early 00s community pharmacy stopped becoming a sustainable business and started to become completely dependent on NHS, which was not a good thing.

In the past most pharmacies had multiple source of income:

OTC - However office of fair trade made sure this was no longer possible and allowed supermarket, cornershops and petrol station to sell GSL. Go to Continental Europe you will see this is not possible medicines are sold exclusively in Pharmacies.

Photo Lab: Again a big money spinner until the rise of digital photography

Cosmetics: Pharmacies still sell it but had far less competition in the 80s and 90s allowing them to enjoy huge margins. 

NHS: Generous reimbursements partly due to the sector being fragmented so NHS couldn't really guage profit levels. As the sector became more consolidated and efficient. The NHS just took away the windfall profit.

From 00s, the pharmacy business was going south and most of the wise contractors sold out around 2004 to 2007, when prices peaked.

Unfortunately 2006 was when I started my degree ignorant of what was happening to the sector. But when I graduated and worked a few years realised by 2015 the sector was going to collapse. Good luck to the contractors because I wouldn't wish the financial burden on my worst enemy. 

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

You are correct. Many operators sold before the much-vaunted new contract started, or just after.

For a single independent owner, the future direction of travel was clear. I knew many that did it, although they could more than outcompete the nearest badly run branch of a multiple. They said with current policy (at that point in time), independents ultimately would have no sustainable future.

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

I have a lot of time for Hancock, he is a good guy. 

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

I think a lot of people missed the irony Freelance (at least I THINK it was irony....). My one consolation is I dread to think what kind of scrote we would have running the show if Corbyn had won the election.

Stuart Graham, Community pharmacist

Actions speak louder than (usually empty) words ...

Paul Samuels, Community pharmacist

One has to wonder? I very much doubt if he will put his money,

where his mouth appears to moving?

Ebers Papyrus, Pharmaceutical Adviser

DH and NHSE have cut off their nose to spite their face. A rushed through smash and grab on community pharmacy funding. Diverting monies to perceived areas of greater need or novel vanity projects of dubious worth. 

The realisation now belatedly that the network actually is cost effective and worth the investment after all. Calamitous incompetence

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

Lies must be coming from his mouth because it's moving

Either that or he means divert instead of drive and GP's/beggar on the street/neighbours dog instead of community pharmacy

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

Hahahahahahahah.... what? He's serious?!

Hahahahahahaha

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