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Explained: Pharmacy funding plans and how they'll affect you

The government plans to "phase out" establishment payments

What is the difference between the pharmacy integration fund and access scheme?

The government first announced at the end of last year that it would be removing £170 million from pharmacy’s global sum in England. This was followed in January by the revelation that it plans to "phase out" establishment payments – worth an average of £25,000 a year.

To soften the blow, the DH also announced the pharmacy integration fund, designed to help "transform how community pharmacy will operate in the NHS".

Ministers said the fund would aid integratation with other parts of the NHS by 2021, and support pharmacists to work more closely with GP practices, care homes, and urgent care settings.

The government also made reference to a "pharmacy access scheme", which it outlined in more detail in source papers shared with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) in February.

But what is the difference between the two funding schemes – and how will they affect you? Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) president Ash Soni revealed more to delegates at Avicenna’s conference in Mauritius on Monday (May 30).



What is the pharmacy access scheme?

This funding scheme is designed to help achieve a reduction in pharmacies – without leaving patients at a disadvantage, Mr Soni explained. Which pharmacies qualify for the scheme will depend on factors such as their distance to other pharmacies, deprivation levels in certain areas and the local population, he added.

Will my pharmacy be affected?

No one knows for sure. While “everyone assumes” the access fund will only be available to rural pharmacies, Mr Soni said he is lobbying for it to become available to some inner-city pharmacies where there is a need for it. “I’m arguing on behalf of London that we need some of the [money],” he told delegates.

How does it relate to other pharmacy funding?

Mr Soni explained there is a “balance” to be struck between claiming the money for individual pharmacies and leaving some to be spent across the sector as a whole. The more funding that is spent on the access fund, the less there will be available for the global sum.

So what is the pharmacy integration fund?

This is a pot of money outside of the global sum that the government has earmarked to be spent on helping the sector design new models of care, Mr Soni explained.

“The opportunity potentially is for pharmacy to show what it can do differently and for that to be rolled out,” he said. “It is our opportunity to show how we can deliver new services in new ways which have better outcomes for patients and the population.”

How much is it worth?

The fund will be worth £20 million in its first year – 2016-17 – with this figure rising by £20m year on year, to a total of £300m over five years, Mr Soni said.

Is it part of contract negotiations?

The fund is not part of the government’s negotiations with PSNC, and so pharmacists should not expect to see the money announced as part of the national contract, Mr Soni stressed. Instead, it is more likely that the funding will be earmarked for locally commissioned services, he suggested.
 

More on the impact of the cuts:

Read how contractors are preparing for the cuts here

An accountant predicts the average pharmacy will lose £19k over 10 months

5 key points from the PSNC and RPS funding consultation responses

 

What do you think of the funding plans?

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information

7 Comments

P M, Community pharmacist

once the estbalishment payment is gone the large multiples will start to close their bricks and mortar shops laying off pharmacists and other staff sending all the rx to their online pharmacy and deliver direct to patients.  the establishment payment will be small fry compared to the savings theyll make on rent rates staff costs gas elec etc the single activity fee once introduced will mean they will have no need for a physical shops - they will just advertise on tv get people to sign up online and all shopping for oher items can be done and put in basket at same time. hub and spoke will only be available in the very profitable stores the ones with high otc sales and marquee shops like bond or regent street job losses will be huge for retail staff including pharmacists better to buy your own pharmacy now or get out and do IT the 4th industrial revolution has started - ask the swiss   - 

Uday Thakrar, Superintendent Pharmacist

 I am and independant in town centre with Business Rates of £30k.Surrounded by multiples and dispensing doctors. With two of independant colleague(outside the town centre) we provide a different choice to patients from the town and surrounding areas and are members of RPS so why aren't we being lobbied for. Mr. Soni is lobbying for London Pharmacies because he is one of them. I would say vested interest?

 

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

The fund is not part of the government’s negotiations with PSNC, and so pharmacists should not expect to see the money announced as part of the national contract, Mr Soni stressed. Instead, it is more likely that the funding will be earmarked for locally commissioned services, he suggested. 

My sceptical side says someone will set up a working group of nurses and podiatrists etc and charge a small fortune to "scope" ideas for services for pharmacy which the local CCG will quietly bin before they see the light of day - money spent - govt happy, job done.

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

""Mr Soni explained. Which pharmacies qualify for the scheme will depend on factors such as their distance to other pharmacies, deprivation levels in certain areas and the local population, he added.""

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The DoH has sophisticated  mapping tools and it knows EXACTLY which pharmacies will be forced to close and which will survive.  Do not let them fool you . Incidentally, all the big vertically integrated multiples also use these mapping tools so they too will know exactly who will be affected.

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Its only the small Independents, Employees, Locums and the profession that is being kept in the dark, the DoH and the large multiples know EXACTLY which pharmacies in which areas will receive the chop.

P M, Community pharmacist

why only london? im a rps member and im outside london why is he not arguing on everyones behalf ? 

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Ash Soni revealed more to delegates at Avicenna’s conference in Mauritius. If I were very worried about my future I woudn't be going off to Mauritius. Usual suspects, same old story. Meanwhile back in the real World...

Mr Pharmacist!, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Agreed

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