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Emotions run high in response to the DH's funding package

The government plans to slash funding in England by 12% for December 2016 until March 2017.

Pharmacy bodies have described the shock announcement that the government's proposed cuts will go ahead as a "bitter blow" and "illogical".

In the wake of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee's announcement that it has rejected the government's plans to slash pharmacy funding in England by 12% for December 2016 until March 2017, C+D rounds-up the immediate reactions from the sector.

“This is a bitter blow to community pharmacy” – Pharmacy Voice chair Claire Ward

“This is a bitter blow to community pharmacy after all our hard work to demonstrate the value we bring to the NHS, public health system and wider society." 

“The fact that the government currently appears to be unwilling to match our ambition – despite the evidence, its own warm words for the sector and the out-pouring of support from pharmacy users – is extremely disappointing.”   

“We are deeply disappointed…and alarmed” – Royal Pharmaceutical Society England board chair Sandra Gidley

“We are deeply disappointed that the government has not changed its approach to funding cuts this year and alarmed that further cuts have been announced for next financial year.

“The lack of news on the promised Pharmacy Integration Fund defies logic at a time when greater integration of primary care services to improve patient care is such a priority for the NHS. We call on the government to make good on its promise made in the original letter of December 2015 “to bring pharmacy even closer into the wider primary care and community health system.”

“We will not accept this betrayal meekly” – National Pharmacy Association chairman Ian Strachan

“The government’s approach is a betrayal of its promises and shows a complete disregard for the wellbeing of patients.

“This is a dangerous experiment…and a flat contradiction at the heart of the department’s position – asking pharmacies to develop new roles and services whilst stripping away the investment necessary to make it happen.

“We will not accept this meekly.”

“Arbitrary cuts” are “completely false economy” – Michael Dugher, Labour MP for Barnsley East

“For all their warm words on community pharmacies…ministers seem committed to pushing through a massive package of arbitrary cuts.

“Cuts to community pharmacies are bad for our local communities. But they are also bad for the NHS, which is already in crisis, and are a complete false economy as they will pile even more pressure on already overstretched GP surgeries and A&E [departments].”

“We firmly support” the PSNC’s decision to reject the proposals - Boots Spokesperson

“We are extremely disappointed that the pharmacy funding discussions have not reached a satisfactory outcome based on a shared understanding of the value of community pharmacy. We firmly support the PSNC decision to reject the government proposal this week and want to ensure community pharmacy remains an accessible point of care for all communities across the UK.”

The funding cut will have a “real impact” on community pharmacies - John D’Arcy, managing director, Numark

“We fully agree with the PSNC’s rejection of the Department of Health’s proposed cut of 12% this year. It’s essential that the Government recognises the crucial role of community pharmacies and reconsiders the framework through which this can be delivered as well as agreeing sufficient remuneration.”

“As any funding cuts would eat into profits provided from prescriptions, focusing on expanded service provision and stocking healthcare related OTC products will ensure pharmacies can continue to protect and grow their businesses.”

The Twitter reaction:
How do you feel about the funding news?

Sue Per, Locum pharmacist

The Locums have had it for ten years, now it's time for similar treatment for the"fat & greedy" mainly multiple contractors.

Remove useless services such as NMS, and useless 1& 2 item Mur's, showing no clinical need. Clawback all purchase profits., Remove all services prone to fraud.

Increase Prescribing period to 56 & 84 days for appropriate patients with stable conditions., 

Remove "7 - Day" dosette prescriptions, except for the certified disabled persons on multiple medications.

Starve the Multiple contractors until the Fat in the Balance Sheet, accrued over the past decade is decimated. 



Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

Sue us (former locums) independent prescriber pharmacists have not forgt how the greedy multiples have treated us.  I will be switching patients on to 84 days supply from 28days if it is safe for the patients, it will save the NHS money and then we will see how they like the shoe on the other foot.  

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

I like the word used - "independent" prescriber? Where do you work?

John Dow, Advertising

WOW Sue. They should appoint you as Home Secretary .

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

I support the government's plans, because I believe the whole pharmacy sector is overdue for a realignment. We don't need so many pharmacies and pharmacists.

Simon MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

So arbitrary cuts with no planning  of where pharmacies will close is the answer to the solution?  Or are you being deliberately provocative 

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Over the years, I remember 'rational distribution', 'necessary and desirable', even 'leapfrogging' in my early years etc ... whatever policy one pursues, there are pharmacists who will circumvent it for their own monetary gain and throws up anomalies. I personally believe the government is doing the right thing, name a sum and let pharmacies fight amongst and decide for themselves.

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

ad that applies to your job too - in the public sector?  mmm doubt it somehow... 

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Pharmacy in the UK has a de facto monopoly customer called the NHS. Pharmaceutical contractors are contracted voluntarily to the NHS. The big question is can pharmacy survive outside the NHS? I believe contractors can leave, like what some dentists did.

Dave Downham, Manager

How? You really have no idea, have you?

Locum Morgan, Locum pharmacist

Will the proposed funding cuts mean that - 

1. Fleets of pharmacy home delivery vans will have to be sold off and resources redirected back into actual pharmacies? 

2. Free blister pack services come to an end thereby freeing up time for more clinically valuable services? 

3. Pharmacies will no longer be commercially attractive for big business and the chains with shareholders and private equity tycoons to keep happy? 

4. Rather than thousands of pharmacies simply closing, wouldn't the multiples be more likely to at least try putting pharmacies up for sale for whatever they'll fetch? They may still be viable run by an independent pharmacist with no home delivery van, no free blister pack service, no free managed repeat service, no area manager's salary to support and no shareholders to pay? In short, would it be such a terrible thing if community pharmacy was returned to the ownership of actual pharmacists, as it is throughout most of the rest of Europe and indeed the world? 

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

I ageee with you

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

I am surprised anyone is 'surprised' about these cuts, we are viewed as chocolate soldiers - no serious resistance has been encountered by any administration from pharmacists.

Dave 'secured' a good non existent concession on remaining. This government will fare no better thinking it can play hardball on favourable terms. IT can however, **** on us from a great height for savings that are miniscule to the national budget (HS2 elephant etc). We have no leverage and never did because it has always been divide and rule

John Randell, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager


SydBashford Sold&Retired&DeRegistered, Community pharmacist

I propose a campaign to let the NHS know that we plan for ALL pharmacies to actually REFER patients to surgeries for certain non-paid services that we would normally willing provide, if the cuts go ahaead......

Simon MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

pondering how I'm going to keep going with what we do already, yet alone cope with cuts. I don't think there's much down time in the average pharmacy - if cuts to staff are made to save costs then patient care WILL suffer. Don't forget that all employers are now going to have an increaded wage bill due to Automatic Enrolment for workplace pensions, and due to the damn fool brexiteers, inflation is going to eat into over heads. Blame the conservatives- they couldn't run a knees up in the brewery  . ( but they could outsource it to virgin )

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

I am one of your damn fool Brexiter ... if that is appropriate language to use. I also happen to support the government's plan. Don't forget the funding you are talking about finances the owners of pharmacies most and not pharmacists, the majority of pharmacists on the register are now employees and not proprietors.

Dave Downham, Manager

So...I would have thought it was the owners of pharmacies who pay the pharmacists? If they have less cash, they ain't going to increase the spend on "mere" employees, are they?


(Would you prefer damn fool Brexiter with no grasp of reality?)

Simon MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

So adjusting the clawback from vertically integrated multiples and closing tax loopholes would save cash and leave poor one man bands like me to serve my local community.  As for voting leave - at the moment the evidence points to remainers being correct . Hard brexit will do no one but the elite any good

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

“We will not accept this meekly.”

Mightn't have a choice in the matter.

Sunil Kumar, Community pharmacist

In full support to PSNC &

Biggest sector of Profession.

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