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Pharmacy unlikely to receive promised £42m fund in time, Ridge admits

Keith Ridge made the comments at an NHS England Pharmacy Integration event in London
Keith Ridge made the comments at an NHS England Pharmacy Integration event in London

Pharmacists are unlikely to benefit from the full £42 million set aside to integrate the profession into the NHS in 2016-18, England's chief pharmaceutical officer has revealed.

The Department of Health (DH) set aside a £300m Pharmacy Integration Fund in May 2016, to be invested over five years, with £42m eventually allocated for 2016-18. NHS England is responsible for allocating money from the fund.

As well as helping to fund pharmacists in care homes and GP practices, the money was also linked to direct referral pathways from NHS 111 to community pharmacies for both urgent repeat prescriptions and minor ailments.

However, England's chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge told delegates at an NHS England event this morning (November 16) that it is unlikely that pharmacy will receive the full £42m allocated for 2016-18 by the end of the financial year.

Royal Pharmaceutical Society English pharmacy board chair Sandra Gidley – who attended today's event – told C+D that Dr Ridge said he will provide more information on the amount of funding pharmacy has received so far this year "in the near future".

NHS England confirmed to C+D that Dr Ridge will provide an update on the exact figures for the fund "soon".

Its Pharmacy Integration Event in London today was intended to update attendees "about progress on initiatives including workforce development, digital integration and new career pathways". It told C+D that the event was "for stakeholders only" and press were not allowed to attend.

Funding "hosepipe has been stepped on"

Speaking to C+D from the event, Ms Gidley said it is "depressing" that the full integration fund promised by NHS England has not been allocated to pharmacy.

"The sad thing is, we have got people who have been working hard to spend this money and develop roles for pharmacists," she said.

"It is really frustrating to have the [funding] hosepipe stepped on, as it were," she added.

Dr Ridge had said he "was not yet in a position" to share exact figures on the Pharmacy Integration Fund, "because he has not got permission", Ms Gidley told C+D.

"This is public money we're talking about," she stressed.

Twitter reaction from NHS England's event
Are you surprised by Dr Ridge's comments?

Andrew Morrison, Superintendent Pharmacist

We all know who pays Keith Ridges wages - maybe he should take a 15% cut in his to show solidarity with us .......on not as the case be. Like to see him try and run a business with his own money at the coal face today.

Paul Dishman, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Ridge is utterly useless

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

I don't know if this £42m will address any community pharmacy funding issues, but it seems to be targeted at Out Of Hours integratrion, workforce development; not certain what this means probably more GP practice pharmacist traing and IP courses; care home pharmacists and we all love them. Our CCG appointed one short term and she ran around sending us more bloody work, she could not prescribe so we had to sort her sh*t out, fxxx useless waste of time about minor issues. It all looks like more of the same. Thanks

Meera Sharma, Community pharmacist

I completely agree with Rubicon - said it almost 2 years ago that we should stop doing free deliveries, stop bending over backwards for patients and prescriptions. In an attempt to get every ounce of business, we’ve killed the profession and driven down our bargaining power! 

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

'2 years ago' 

Should have never started. Only mugs do things for free.

Wolverine 001 , Pharmacist Director

God this government really is streching the austerity arguement arent they - when will they stop printing money to help the banks??

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

They seem to find money to interfere in other countries where we have no business. Complete joke with the budget deficit - there should be no national debt with this austerity. Pharmacy is the softest target around and we have been too willing a victim in our demise when shoe companies started mds for no charge.

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

Community Pharmacy Call To Action? Move on. Murray Review? Move on. Pharmacy Integration Fund? Move on.

Rubicon Mango, Academic pharmacist

I walked into a Pharmacy once to explore other methods of practice, they did no deliveries, no blister packs, no prescription ordering, no ETP and the pharmacist had an hour lunch where the shop closed!

The patients were polite, friendly, very content with the service and didn't mind to wait the odd occasion for their prescription.

This Pharmacy was in a different country and healthcare system. Surgeries were not overburdened, hospitals were not in chaos and funds for services were appropriately allocated.

The difference? The attitude and expectation of the patient. A consultant once told me 'if you want to invent a disease, invent the cure'

We as a profession have brought the end game on ourselves. Free deliveries to patients who live down the road, blister packs for anyone on more than 3 items, ordering prescriptions and collecting them. I understand why, the fear of competition. But you don’t see doctors at different surgeries rushing in OOH to get to a patient to compete for their signature, or attending nursing homes offering free equipment. This is a future we deserve because of greed.

We cannot strike because the moment we do, they will change the legislation for technicians to take over, we cannot unify because we are to weak, and we cannot revolt for we to embedded in our materialistic worlds. Everyone in the UK has tolerated the gradual dumbing down and fragmentation of society, our children will suffer the worst of it. Congratulations to the corporates and GPhC. You have won!


Brian Austen, Senior Management

The main reason community pharmacy has no bargaining power is that their is no trust or solidarity within it. If pharmacists and pharmacy organisations cannot agree with each other how can they expect anyone to take notice of them!

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Brian, it's often the case that employee pharmacists/locums and their contractor pharmacist overlords can't even agree! If pharmacists can't unite among themselves what hope have we?!

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

Free everything culture effectively destroyed other streams of income that are so badly needed. The last part of practice payment will go and the daily grind and staff adjustments will not cease...make for the exit if you can

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

Agree completely- offering free deliveries, free dossettes, free prescription ordering service, and ETP (to some extent) has ruined us. There was no real need for any of these in the first place and providing these services has ultimately just resulted in patients feeling they can demand anything and everything from their pharmacy and other healthcare professionals seeing us as spineless pushovers.

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

You are though.

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Spot on. I now practice outside the UK  - what a breath of fresh air! Still do some blister packs, but no care homes, no deliveries, no MURs/NMS, no ridiculous quality payments nonsense, much more hands-off regulator and locum rates of up to 40 euros/hr! What's more, there's a shortage of pharmacists - you have your pick of jobs. Customers respect the pharmacist and I can't actually remember getting any abuse. The local surgeries are a joy to deal with - couldn't be more accommodating - compare that to the witches in the UK! Rubicon is right, pharmacy in the UK is broken beyond repair - get out while you can.

Hadi Al-Bayati, Locum pharmacist

Sounds like you are at the end of the rainbow! Where is this?

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

Can we set up a lie detector test lol or did you invent the time machine?!

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Nah, just got a Ryanair flight home, and haven't looked back since! :-D

Dilip Shah, Community pharmacist

Surprise, Surprise.Is it time forall pharmacist in the community to refer every tenth patient to GP or A&E and see how the govt copes as we have been subsidising the NHS for years.This will make NHS decision makers value pharmacist input in the NHS.



Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

Am I surprised? Not in the slightest

I wonder how much of any funding promised to GPs is not going to be allocated?

Brian Austen, Senior Management

If you don't deliver as a GP leader you don't remain a GP leader.

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

not much, I bet! but then they have leaders who arent afraid to upset the doh...

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