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PSNC warns of 'far larger' funding cuts to come

Sue Sharpe: £170 million cut to global sum will result in pharmacy staff reductions

Department of Health wants to close pharmacies with low dispensing volumes, according to PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe


  • Department of Health has "made it clear" that proposed £170 million cut to global sum in England will go ahead regardless of a promised consultation, PSNC says

  • Government has no plans to develop any pharmacy services in 2016-17, according to negotiating body

  • Funding cuts will damage "confidence and stability" of sector and force contractors to reduce staffing levels

The government could hit community pharmacies in England with a "far larger" funding cut next year, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has warned.

The Department of Health (DH) said last month that its £170 million cut to pharmacy funding – scheduled for October – would be subject to a consultation involving PSNC and other pharmacy bodies, but PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe said the government has "made it clear" that the proposed cut will go ahead regardless of the results of the consultation.

The government's intention is to reduce the number of pharmacies with low dispensing volumes, Ms Sharpe said in a letter to DH and NHS England representatives last Friday (January 15). 

Despite continued calls from pharmacy representatives for a national minor ailments service, the DH has "no plans" to consider any new pharmacy services in 2016-17, Ms Sharpe said.

DH "withholding" information

Ms Sharpe accused the DH of "withholding material" from PSNC, after it failed to provide the negotiating body with details of its plans for pharmacy funding beyond 2016-17.

"We cannot agree to commence negotiations [on the global sum] before we have had an opportunity to fully understand your plans," she told the DH.

"It seems clear that you are proposing to radically change the market with a real paucity of knowledge essential for good decision making," she added.

Staff cuts

Ms Sharpe said the "extraordinary" funding cut will force contractors to reduce staff – echoing the results of a C+D poll last week.

In her letter, addressed to chief pharmaceutical officer for England Keith Ridge and a DH director, Ms Sharpe accused the DH of having an "ill-informed policy driven by an equally ill-informed view that there is surplus funding [in pharmacy]".

"[Your] professed ambition to develop a more clinically-focused community pharmacy service is entirely incompatible with the cut in funding of £170m. We will not accept this," she said.

Future funding streams

Ms Sharpe also took aim at the Pharmacy Integration Fund, announced by the DH in December as a way of "transforming how community pharmacy will operate in the NHS". The fund is expected to support pharmacists to work more closely with GP practices, care homes, and urgent care settings, the DH said at the time. 

Ms Sharpe said the fund will only amount to £20m in 2016-17, and will not be limited to community pharmacy.

"Given the current drive to develop the role of pharmacists working in general practice, we expect that this [money] will be overwhelmingly directed towards...those other than community pharmacies," she said.

 

More news on the funding cuts...

Half of readers will reduce staff to counter funding cuts

Funding cuts equivalent to 12% 'net' loss over 6 months

Pharmacy funding cuts: Everything you need to know

 



What do you think of Ms Sharpe's letter?

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67 Comments

N C, Community pharmacist

(By any chance...) Does the PSNC know of 'far larger funding cuts to occur' because they will agree to them?

Farm Assistant, Community pharmacist

So pharmacy is going down the toilet and "pharmacy representatives" have been continually calling for a national minor ailments service? That would not be another useless labour intensive service that does not make any money by any chance would it? Well our wonderful "leaders" have not led us to the utopia of "pharmacy in a new age" but rather over a very high cliff. Any Syrian pharmacists out there by any chance?

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Even a simple locum like myself knew that services was a load of deflective [email protected]@cks ages ago.

John Alan James Robinson, Superintendent Pharmacist

Just heard the PM at question time supporting the need for banks to maintain street presence in villages and on high streets. Wonder if he might offer the same support for small rural pharmacies ? Wishful thinking, it didn't work for post offices although my understanding is that Royal Mail have been charged with keeping them open where possible.

Yuna Mason, Sales

If someone could find out how much an advert in a national paper would cost, perhaps C & D could set up crowd funding to allow people to donate towards it, then put an advert for the petition in the papers. Would get the signatures overnight.

Yuna Mason, Sales

Where else could the power to fight this come from? There are a few options - for example getting to 100,000 responses on the survey could cause the issue to be debated publically in the commons. Also it would be great if Keith Ridge had the guts to withdraw his support for the letter he signed. That would be an amazing move and in the latter part of his career, it would make all those years as a pharmacist worthwhile..

Simon MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

or start a petition to have his FRPharmS removed for '' disservice to the pharmacy profession ''

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

I would suggest undeclared conflicts of interest will deter Ridge from withdrawing support for that letter.

Tariq Iqbal, Accuracy checking technician

It will be interesting to know what the DOH are willing to offer pharmacies to close down.

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

brother iqbal they will offer nothing..they will continue with their cuts in funding and wait for things to be financially unviable and that way they don't have to spend any money

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

brother iqbal they will offer nothing..they will continue with their cuts in funding and wait for things to be financially unviable and that way they don't have to spend any money

Dave Downham, Manager

For once I'm with Sami - why offer money to encourage the inevitable. Hang about, Sami is always on about how much money there is and that no pharmacy will close. Surely he's not being inconsistent?

Dave Downham, Manager

For once I'm with Sami - why offer money to encourage the inevitable. Hang about, Sami is always on about how much money there is and that no pharmacy will close. Surely he's not being inconsistent?

Ashley Cohen, Community pharmacist

I agree with Nick!

Dave Downham, Manager

For once I'm with Sami - why offer money to encourage the inevitable. Hang about, Sami is always on about how much money there is and that no pharmacy will close. Surely he's not being inconsistent?

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

I'm just a simple locum so I wonder how despite all that is happening goodwill values remain so high. Perhaps some of the very intelligent posters here could enlighten me/us? And what is the plan for the swathes of new graduates? Are they to stud robotics postgrad so they can service these new automated hubs? Your thoughts please.

cardiff pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

goodwill is so high because interest rates are so low...the return wanted can be lower so prices go higher...if iunterest rates were higher goodwill would be lower.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Thank you. And what to be done with the hoards of graduates emerging from university most of whom end up in community practice.

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

London locum..do you honestly think contractors give a damn about locums/over supply of labour?

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

From my experience and observation I would say they are not bothered in the slightest. But they've woken up a bit now the multiples have begun the end game.

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

they can run my chips shop...free chips!!

O J, Community pharmacist

Lol...Sami there is good money in chip shop. Every £5k you take on the till it's £2k profit.

O J, Community pharmacist

..

Simon MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

as goodwill is linked to profits- they won't remain high for long- I'd imagine at least 6.1% has been wiped off the average pharmacy in the last month alone !!!! Wonder how this will reflect on value of large chains ?

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

the sooner they open the market the better. the reason why the exemption on online pharmacies remain is that it will give the government an excuse to reduce funding as the costs are less

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

the sooner they open the market the better. the reason why the exemption on online pharmacies remain is that it will give the government an excuse to reduce funding as the costs are less

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

the sooner they open the market the better. the reason why the exemption on online pharmacies remain is that it will give the government an excuse to reduce funding as the costs are less

Pharmacist Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

The government wants to close low dispensing pharmacies. Hang on a minute, how hypocritical? It wasnt long ago that they were allowing pharmacies to open left right and centre. Even still there are more and more internet pharmacies opening. I seem to lose what the government is wishing to achieve.

Mi Wa, Community pharmacist

For years I have heard the supply element of our job being talked down and considered menial. Fair enough, it may be repetitive and not completely challenging at times, but can anyone do it as effectively and safely as us for the same money? I've worked with hundreds of registered dispensers and ACT's during my career and I have still had to mop up hundreds of dispensing errors that I simply wouldn't make. I'm not saying that pharmacists (myself) are perfect, but you can't just thrust professionalism on someone, it is developed. I hope that this issue is a call to arms for our profession and if these cuts are a certainty that we decide to opt out of certain DoH schemes where we are left to pick up the strain on the NHS. As for Sami. What a joke you are. I'm not a contractor, but without them then there are no employees. Simple as that.

Sue Per, Locum pharmacist

The contractors you refer to are ruthless blood sucking, target seeking mercenaries, who have delivered worthless services, from which majority of patients have derived very little benefit.,and neither the employees and locums have a decent share of their loot. They have created "MDS" sweat shops to increase scripts volume, and accrued massive dispensing fees in the process for a mediocre assembly line process.Let this type of contractors perish, and may new ones rise with innovative meaningful services which makes a positive contribution to the public at large and delivers a meaningful worthwhile service to the patients, both NHS and Private!!.

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