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NHS England rejects all requests for cuts protection so far

The commissioner still has 88 applications from pharmacies to review

NHS England has rejected every application it has reviewed so far from pharmacies requesting financial protection from the funding cuts, C+D has learned.

The Pharmacy Access Scheme is designed to protect pharmacies which are situated a mile or more from another pharmacy by road from the “full effect” of the cuts – as long as they are not in the top 25% best-performing businesses according to dispensing volume.

Last October, the Department of Health (DH) introduced a “near miss” process to review pharmacies that did not initially qualify for the scheme, but are affected by factors that could limit patient access.

NHS England began accepting applications from contractors in November and said it would aim to complete a review within six weeks.  

The commissioner has so far received 142 applications from pharmacies to be included in this process, it told C+D yesterday evening (January 24).

Out of these, it has responded to 54 applications – all of which it has “declined because they did not meet the stated eligibility criteria”.

“The remaining applications for the scheme are still under consideration and will be responded to as soon as possible,” it said. 

Pharmacies who do make it onto the scheme will each receive an average of £2,900 per month between December 2016 and March 2017, and £1,500 per month between April 2017 and March 2018. The DH will consider whether or not to provide further funding beyond this date, it said last November.

In response to claims from a contractor this week that their pharmacy had been waiting nine weeks to find out if its application had been successful, NHS England added: “We’re sorry for the delay that some pharmacies have experienced and will make backdated payments if needed.”

Have you applied for the Pharmacy Access Scheme?

Jaipreet Johal, Superintendent Pharmacist

I applied for the pharmacy access scheme funding and was rejected 12 weeks later (not 6 as promised) on the grounds that the nearest "community pharmacy" to me was the local "hospital pharmacy" which is less than a mile away. The hospital pharmacy doesn't  provide any enhanced or advanced services, mediboxes, supervised consumption or delivery, they don't fall under the community pharmacy contract monitoring framework yet for the purposes of the pharmacy access scheme the department of health classes the hospital pharmacy as a community pharmacy.

Rekha Shah, Community pharmacist

One way street as usual with NHSE! We have massive amounts in outstanding payments to pharmacies for Pre-Reg and Local services such as MAS & Urgent medicine supplies for over 12 months which are creating some massive cash flow issues and will get worse as the pharmacy cuts bite as well; yet NHSE staff  can continue their high handed dismissal of any issue put to them about using their discretion when a minor technical or procedural mistake made by a member of the pharmacy team results in huge losses through withheld payments. I am referring here to all those that lost payments for hundreds of flu vaccinations administered because of a procedural error in not registering with NHSBSA of their intention to provide the national advanced service! Pharmacy contractors (at least in London) are expected to bear the brunt of their own errors as well as those by NHSE and PCSE staff and also cope with the CUTs!! 

Yo Palumeri, Community pharmacist

we don't need to strike, just work to rule

no lending

return patients to dr to correct prescriptions

proper assessments for mds

charging for home delivery

scripts for every flavour food patient wants

dumping unprofitable services

only dealing with nhs england by paper

until the multiples wake up


just get on with it


Honest Tikes, Sales

Some will fight,some will run and most will poke their heads in the sand as we are steamrollered into oblivion

Doesn't the Government want us all to become Demented Fiends or did I misread something

CAPT FX, Locum pharmacist

I think they are a lot of questions we should answer ourselves before we go and demand more funding or stop the current funding being cut.

Are we providing the quality of service the NHS is paying for? The deafening answer is no.

We are the only profession where the service provided by the Pharmacist , as THE PROFESSIONAL is controlled by non-Pharmacist  operatives  at various levels. These are operatives  whose authority in their positions makes them to feel they assume the professional responsibilities as well. In community Pharmacy, the Pharmacist is a certified checker of pills , dressings and medical devices. This is the reality.

In my travels my Manager for the day was a 23 year old who made 26 dispensing errors in the 9 hours I was there. Her belief now is that she is beyond be questioned for these errors because she is Manager. I couldnt believe it when from her lofty position she counter-prescribed basing everything on her personal experience.

It took me 23years of my life to qualify to counter-prescribe and to have the confidence to recommend anything yet this princess was anointed in the few hours they made her Manager. Stories abound where these Managers issued controlled drugs and performed Pharmacists roles with impunity and no censure.

So if you were the NHS would you pay for this chaos? Obviously no. We saw recently one big chain buy another. There was an interesting transition that included rebranding and refitting the shops. We are saw for the first time the concept of make-shift Pharmacies. For anyone who has been to public markets, this was the scenario. You would find controlled drugs mixed with calamine lotion and it was all out there in the public domain. Finished patient prescriptions, documents and the controlled drugs cabinet for once was in the public domain. They traded like this for periods ranging from two to four weeks. I can hear you saying the GPHC has tough inspectors but then I think all of them decided to go on holiday then.

We hear stories about unqualified and poorly trained Pharmacy staff and add to this the shortage of the same. We see dilapidated software and hardware in Pharmacy. The worst cause of work  place pressure is  poor and badly maintained equipment. All of this despite the NHS providing significant funding prior to release of both EPS1 and EPS2. Check your drug tarrif

Pharmacy has to learn to invest in itself rather than use all capital funding to go to your profits. Automate, be up to date with technology but most of all remember the person at the core of this profession is the Pharmacist. 

We also need an effective regulatory body that enforces its own regulations equitably and one that understands the profession. The Duncan Rudkin regime relies on a guidelines system whose emphasis is bullying a registrant who has no authority over anything. They are completely silent on transgressions by owners and contractors. Untill they get a fundamental understanding of our profession,why should anyone spend money on us.

We are a profession that can not police ourselves and yet we want more recognition and more funding and more protection. Before we go and make noises outside take a look at whats happenning on the shop floor and decide.  We may just be making fools of ourselves with all these unjustified noises.

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Your post has more sense to it than any published article I have read on here for a long time. Still no regular employee/locum pharmacist column, but then who would risk it? 

Z ZZzzzz, Information Technology

I'm sure PSNC or some govt dept must have access to a list of pharmacies that could be eligible.  Surely those pharmacies should be contacted by NHSE as a matter of course, instead of pharmacies wasting theirs and NHSE's time with ineligible applications and further investigation.  Or is that just too simple?

Jupo Patel, Production & Technical

Will simply hasten your own demise and you'll also lose any public sympathy while you're at it.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

I've never noticed any public sympathy before so nothing would change.

I agree about the demise part though. I've said it before - Traditional community  pharmacy is going down the tubes rapidly.

Gursaran Matharu, Community pharmacist

This is yet another example of NHSE not being able to cope with the day to day running of the organisation. There are still many pharmacists in London with outstanding payments for Pre-Regs and PURM service. C&D should investigate the scandal of non-payments to pharmacists. 

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

There is no surprise in this. I'm beginning to think the only way to make our case is for an all-out strike of pharmacists. The chances of this ever happening is precisely zilch.

S Pessina, Pharmacist Director

Striking never seems to acheive much although it vents anger and frustration. Pharmacy as it was 20-30 years ago will soon be extinct as we live in a completely different world but there is still an over abundance of pharmacies.


Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Just the threat of a strike ought to sharpen some minds. Imagine the expense to the NHS of a couple of days of no pharmacist cover. The trouble is that is also the reason why we shouldn't do it.

John NotaPharmacist, Pharmaceutical Adviser

The trouble is that is also the reason why we shouldn't do it.

And that's what they always depend on.

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