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NHS: Pharmacy early payments ‘will be paid’ despite Greensill crisis

NHS BSA: “Our priority” for PEPS receivers to be paid
NHS BSA: “Our priority” for PEPS receivers to be paid

Pharmacies receiving early payments for their services under PEPS “will continue to be paid”, NHS BSA has assured as the scheme’s funding provider faces collapse.

The Pharmacy Earlier Payment Scheme (PEPS) – a concept that was announced by former Prime Minister David Cameron – allows pharmacies to access their monthly advance payments up to 60 days earlier.

PEPS is a “privately financed, voluntary arrangement” managed by NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) and was first introduced in 2013.

NHS BSA had to step in to cover the March payments because the current PEPS funding provider, Greensill Capital – where Mr Cameron is senior adviser – is reportedly on the brink of financial collapse.

An NHS BSA spokesperson told C+D yesterday (March 4) that the organisation is “aware of the latest developments from Greensill” and is discussing its next steps with the Department of Health and Social Care.

“All members of the PEPS received their monthly payment in full on Monday,” they said.

“We can assure scheme members that our priority is to ensure they will continue to be paid [and] we will continue to communicate with all PEPS members as soon as we have more information,” the spokesperson added.

Payment made by NHS BSA

NHS BSA told C+D today that it was responsible for the payments to pharmacies signed up to PEPS on Monday.

Martin Bennett, managing director at Wicker Pharmacy in Sheffield, who uses the scheme to help with cashflow, told C+D that “NHS BSA [is] being very good in sorting this out”.

“I think there would have been big repercussions [without NHS BSA’s intervention] as I think all the people using the scheme use the funding that comes in to pay wholesalers’ bills the following day,” Mr Bennett said.

In an update published on its website last year, Greensill wrote that it has worked with more than 1,000 pharmacies since it took over the scheme from Citibank in July 2018, “making more than £1.2 billion of supply chain finance payments a year”.

Under the scheme, contractors get early payments which are calculated based on their “dispensing history”. They can sign up to the scheme for free, but their payments will be subject to an annual interest rate of 0.55% and a London Interbank Offered Rate, a lending rate for short term loans.

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