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Simon Dukes: No progress on pharmacy funding negotiations

Simon Dukes: PSNC is being forced to be increasingly public about the situation
Simon Dukes: PSNC is being forced to be increasingly public about the situation

There is “increasing irritation” at the lack of progress in funding negotiations, despite the sector’s “heroic efforts” during the pandemic, the PSNC chief has stressed.

As the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) committee members meet over two days of virtual events, there is “a growing sense of deep frustration and increasing irritation” at the lack of progress around funding negotiations for England’s pharmacies, the negotiator’s chief executive Simon Dukes has said.

In an impassioned blog post, Mr Dukes stressed that PSNC is “being forced to be increasingly public about the situation we find ourselves in”, as the government and policy makers fail to adequately compensate the sector, especially for its work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The financial evidence of the costs that community pharmacy has borne in helping the NHS get through this pandemic is crystal clear,” Mr Dukes stressed in the blog, which was posted yesterday (February 3).

“After 12 months of supporting the NHS through the clinical and pharmaceutical services you provide your patients, and still no resolution on COVID-19 costs, the government is in effect asking you to pay for the privilege.”

PSNC is “yet to receive a formal offer or response” from the Treasury on its bid to forego the requirement to pay back the £370 million advance payment secured in “recognition of the significant cashflow pressures facing the sector… in the COVID-19 pandemic”, Mr Dukes told C+D today (February 4).

“To date, negotiations have been extremely challenging. We are meeting with ministers on an ongoing basis to make our case directly to them,” he added.

“Officials’ refusal”

Mr Dukes used his blog post to highlight regular themes in funding discussions for the sector, which includes: “refusal of officials to treat pharmacies as the core part of the NHS that they are”; resistance to “conversations about fair margins and value”; and “long delays” from officials, while PSNC is given “tight deadlines” to work to.

“The sector must not be bullied,” Mr Dukes stated.

“We will continue to hold the NHS and government to account privately for their decisions and processes – but we will also now say more in public alongside the other pharmacy bodies if we don’t get positive outcomes soon.”

Read the blog post in full here.

How has your pharmacy coped during the COVID-19 pandemic?

sunil maini, Community pharmacist

As I have said previously,I am not sure what the point of our comments is,since Mr Dukes has never said hereads these grass roots comments.However I am so vexed,I am here once more.As another respondent has said,time for gloves off.Try a day of action,ie closing nationwide.Worked for GP's

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

You'll close but your friend down the road will open and try to steal all your nominations. That's how contractors and multiples behave. 

Axed Locum, Locum pharmacist

You need to face up to reality, if it was easy to negotiate, then locums would be faring well. They aren't because of the contractors greed and the "Stretch and extract" Mantra. . The DOH have realised what has been going on, and will do the same to you greedy contractors. It is pointless blaming your negotiators, or looking for scapegoats.The is a very simple solution to your gripe, if it is not good enough for you, pack your bags and go. A message you have been conveying to your locums for years.


Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

If that is the case, then gloves need to come off, time for embarassing hancock, Boris and the pharmacy minister with questions about why the deeds arent matching the words... do they control their departments, if so they are lying, if not their underlings are making it look like it, get ridge sacked if you can.

stop pusssyfooting around the treatment of GPs - point out the cowardice and its rewards.. 

if in reality the problem is Pharmacy is making too much money already then why not propose some of it filters down to the frontline for a change... simple to do, simply increase the minimum ours reqd per contract. 

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

The powers that be including multiples and contractors don't want any money filtering down to the frontline. More than happy tonseee counter staff of £7 per hour and techs on £9. Don't even mention pharmacists...

Mr CAUSTIC, Community pharmacist

i am sorry to say that they want a large number of Pharmacies to close . They have even said it in black and white . However I will pose the question which will come first ,Proscript waking up to the fact that there is a Universal Credit exemption box or PSNC getting us an increase in remuneration ?

It is a year plus since Universal Credit exemption box appeared on the back of FP10 and about 4 years since the government estimated that Pharmacies would close because of their actions on remuneration .

Anonymous Anonymous, Information Technology

Always plenty of money to give the GPs £2.50 per patient on their list i.e £5k+ per GP... Despite only 1 in 10 appointments being held face to face during the pandemic... Yet apparently not a penny for the people holding primary care together! You know the people that had to deal with wholly inappropriate patients that had been let down by their surgeries e.g people with severe red flag symptoms, children, etc!! Everyday I realise I made the biggest mistake of my life being a pharmacist!! It's actually embarrassing - we now earn less than a basic grade nurse!!

Sunil Patel, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

Dear Mr Dukes, a year ago you went everywhere saying how we should build the relationship up with our ‘paymasters’ and that the reason why we were not getting anything was because the relationship was broken. I heard you at events repeating this again and again and again. So now that you have had two years to build that relationship and dance to the tune of the ‘paymasters’, what have you achieved? Moaning in your blogs and C&D is not going to get us anywhere.

M. Rx(n), Student

Last I checked the DoH wanted contractors to show their historical costs. Sounds fair to me

I can't imagine any Pharmacy operator is running a Pharmacy out of the goodness of their hearts. I'm sure the bigger their profit margins the better -- and the greater the DoH funding the better those margins.

But how can the DoH be sure the funds are going directly to the point of care? How much funding will be enough to trickle down to the overworked staff and Pharmacists caged at the back of sales floors?

Axed Locum, Locum pharmacist

Spot on, but the contractors need to plead poverty and hardship, and if they don't beg, they won't get anything. A smple trick, ask any beggar.


Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Again wrong forum. The funding is only meant for the contractors. There is a reason why you can earn more at Jd sports than as a dispensing technician. 

Dave Downham, Manager

You can argue till you're blue in the face as to how effective PSNC, but, crikey, compared to the previous regime at least the language gives us surely a modicum of comfort that they are fighting pharmacy's corner and not lying on the back having their tummy tickled. 

Sunil Patel, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

The former regime at the PSNC said the same things, read the articles in C&D. This one is better at use of words to cover his underperformance. But guess what, many of us are not falling for it!

Anonymous Anonymous, Information Technology

PSNC/NPA/PDA/RPS/Ad nauseum... They all do the same, which is essentially sweet FA. Show them short shrift, just cancel your membership and take out the bare minimum indemnity required. They'll soon get the message once all of their subs dry up!!

M. Rx(n), Student

Have you considered that perhaps it is the system that is structurally flawed? And that there's only so much anyone can do unless the structure itself is changed?

Trying to roll a log uphill isn't easy, is it?

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