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PSNC ‘exasperated’ that pharmacy’s COVID costs ignored in budget

Simon Dukes: No signs that the NHS wishes to give pharmacy its fair share of pandemic funds
Simon Dukes: No signs that the NHS wishes to give pharmacy its fair share of pandemic funds

The fact that the government failed to commit to covering pharmacy’s COVID costs in today’s budget is “exasperating and disappointing”, PSNC chief Simon Dukes has said.

Ahead of today’s (March 3) Spring budget, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) wrote to chancellor Rishi Sunak to intervene and ensure pharmacies will not be required to repay the £370 million COVID-19 loans.

However, Mr Sunak delivered his financial statement this afternoon with no mention of the sector.

Despite reportedly providing £63 billion for frontline health services during the pandemic, the government “has still not taken this opportunity to commit to paying pharmacies the £400m that they have spent in responding to COVID-19”, PSNC chief executive Simon Dukes said this afternoon (March 3).

“Nor have we had any signs that the NHS wishes to give pharmacy its fair share of the health service’s pandemic funds,” he stressed. “This is exasperating and disappointing.”

Pharmacies “must” have the costs they have incurred staying open during the pandemic and running NHS services “fully covered”, Mr Dukes added.

“PSNC cannot accept any less and we will continue to press this point."

CCA: “Chancellor has broken his promise”

Malcolm Harrison, chief executive of the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) – which represents the large multiples and supermarket pharmacies – said that by ignoring the sector's plea in today’s budget Mr Sunak “has broken his promise to give NHS ‘whatever resources it needs’ to deal with coronavirus”.

At the same time, he has “let down community pharmacies who desperately need help to cover additional COVID costs”.

“Yet again, community pharmacies have been ignored despite keeping their doors open to deliver NHS care throughout the pandemic,” he said.

“They have had to make huge changes to how they work to ensure that their pharmacies remained open and were COVID safe throughout the year. They also dealt with significant increases in patient demand and shortages of staff due to illness and isolation.”

Mr Harrison repeated the warning that more pharmacies will close if the sector does not receive “fair funding”.

“It is of real concern to me that our members have needed to close branches during the pandemic when the public have needed healthcare on their high streets the most.”

NPA: “Pharmacies penalised”

National Pharmacy Association (NPA) chief executive Mark Lyonette said: “The continuation of financial assistance for parts of the economy that have been forced to close during lockdown is understandable.

“However, it highlights once again the lack of support for pharmacies, which have, in effect, been penalised for staying open,” he said.

“We continue to press for the COVID costs incurred by pharmacies, such as extra staffing at peak periods, to be repaid,” Mr Lyonette added.

 

4 Comments
Question: 
What should PSNC's next steps be to ensure pharmacy receives fair funding?

sunil maini, Community pharmacist

*This comment has been removed for not complying with C+D's community principles*

Axed Locum, Locum pharmacist

“Yet again, community pharmacies have been ignored despite keeping their doors open to deliver NHS care throughout the pandemic,” he said.

They have been ignored because business was as good as it was for the food retailers, if not better. In addition they recieved local authority grants, rates relief, and extra payments for easter and bank holiday openings. The greedy contractors did not pass on the extra payments to the staff at the coal face.

we await mass closures with baited breath. In any case CP sector needs a radical shake up fit for the future, with mass assembley of prescrptions out-sourced.

Ashley Cohen, Community pharmacist

Please dont tarnish all contractors with the same "greedy" brush.

I passed on fully all additional income earnt from opening over bank holidays to all our staff (full time and part time). I gave everyone very generous bonuses throughout the year as a way of saying thank you for everyones help and support despite the fact that cash flow has been incredible difficult, and also tried to look at ways of supporting flexi working arrangements with those staff that had childcare issues becuase of home schooling. Some contractors invest in their pharmacy teams despite these very difficult financial enviroments because we know that without our incredible teams we don't have a business.

Axed Locum, Locum pharmacist

Ashley, you are an exception to the rule, and my own experince has been different, Simply exploited, with no recognition or ex-gratia payment.Get a poll of the masses, and and they will confirm what i say.Pharmacy is a low risk business, with guaranteed payment from the taxpayer. Retail businesses have undergone huge changes, and the word of CP needs to change, as well.

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