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165 pharmacies have closed since funding cuts introduced, says PSNC

PSNC’s estimate marks a steep increase in pharmacy closure rates since late  2016
PSNC’s estimate marks a steep increase in pharmacy closure rates since late 2016

Around 165 pharmacies have closed since October 2016, according to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC).

The closures all occurred between October 2016 and July 2018, PSNC said. Over half were multiples, and the closures were spread across the country and across pharmacies of varying sizes in a “mixed picture”, the negotiator’s director of funding Mike Dent told contractors at PSNC’s local pharmaceutical committee conference in Birmingham on Wednesday (September 26).

The “about 165” figure is an increase on the 140 pharmacy closures C+D identified between November 2016 – the month before the 12% funding cut came into force in England – and May 2018. You can read C+D’s in-depth analysis of where these closures were located, and who closed them, here.

PSNC’s estimate also marks a steep increase in closures rates. According to data from NHS Digital, an average of 40 pharmacies closed every year up to 2016.

When asked by a conference delegate how many pharmacies the government is willing to fund, PSNC CEO Simon Dukes said this “is not something [officials] will ever” give a figure for, and stressed that past references to a target number of pharmacy closures should be forgotten.

Contractors “absorbing” the funding cuts 

Mr Dukes praised contractors for having “insulated” patients from the full effects of the funding cuts, but he suggested that measuring the real impact on the sector would be difficult because community pharmacy has been “absorbing the hit” by “using up reserves, using credit, taking out loans and subsidising their business”.

“This is no way to run a key part of the healthcare system,” he stressed. “We have to work with the government as an absolute priority to find a better way.”

Do you know of a pharmacy that has closed since the funding cuts hit?

How High?, Community pharmacist

So why are we all still offering free MDS, free delivery, free script collection and free repeat management?

Past references may not be relevant but we all know where we are going. Chains are putting a "pause" on hub and spoke because they have found it too expensive. So they are waiting until they get EPS levels up to 90 odd percent then they will move to a hub only model.

They see this as the best way to compete with online pharmacies and they will deliver straight to the door. They will cut bricks and mortar units dramatically in exactly the same way banking has.

FACT check- More than one in four UK bank branches (26 percent) have been shuttered in the past five years.

In 5 years this is the sort of figure we will see within community pharmacy. So get ready. 

Pharma Tron , Community pharmacist

Should we all begin to stop doing stuff for free, then the said contractors who have ploughed their life savings into their businesses become more desperate to chase the FP10 dollar because let's face it, as paltry as it is, the income generated is the only guarantee still. Would they take action? It seems the PSNC are happy to get their bellies tickled- what the undertone for every negotiation should be isthat profit in the sector is NOT a dirty word, it's indirect recompense for not having an NHS pension. That was the agreement, end of. Erosion of profit equals erosion of goodwill which then means some Indies walk away with nothing. Surely that's illegal? Compare this to the GPs superannuation etc- they walk away with it all, untouched and with no consequence of performance and competition. We've long been scathing of general practice as a whole, but I reckon we could learn a thing or two about proving value of their worth and sticking by it. Would you get a practice doing anything for nothing on the same scale we do? Thought not.

N patel , Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

guys and gals... no  wonder the likes of amazon wont enter the pharmacy business. we are the only mugs who: a) will dispense items at a loss b) supply items without knowing what you are going to be paid for , all us poor saps who dispensed allopurinol 300 bought at 6.45 . c) bend over backwards to provide services for free. and on top of that having an emasculated negotiating body who could not punch their way out of a paper bag... about time we started saying no to a lot of things.   Which other business happily provides anything at a loss... NOT Amazom

Harvey Northwood, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

Mr Dukes, please can you sort out Concession Pricing as a priority! Topiramate 100mg is infrequently dispensed, we can only buy it as the proprioty brand at £56.76/60 tabs yet Concession pricing has been released this afternoon at £17.07/60. Would you run a business on this basis? Dispensing at a loss......yes we did! Yet again!!!!!!!!







Actually Harvey start doing what a large distance selling pharmacy does. Dispense the other items and send an email to the patient to inform them that no stock is available and for the patient to contact their Dr.

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