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Sue Sharpe: Cashflow will be ‘absolutely grim’ for months

Sue Sharpe: 15p advance payment rise alleviated worst of the cashflow dip for some
Sue Sharpe: 15p advance payment rise alleviated worst of the cashflow dip for some

Pharmacies will “struggle to survive” the “absolutely grim” cuts to their cashflow, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee's (PSNC) chief executive has warned.

Market volatility went “completely berserk” over the summer, with price rises, drug shortages, and the number of concessionary prices hitting an “all-time high, Sue Sharpe told contractors at the local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) conference in Manchester on Wednesday (November 1).

“The whole thing has gone absolutely mad,” she said.

Contractors are in an “exceptionally difficult period” as they have also been affected by the £15 million-per-month reduction in category M payments, which began in August, she said.

“Moved into unviability”

“There is a real concern now that we have some pharmacies with cashflow problems. Some pharmacies have moved into unviability,” Ms Sharpe continued. “This situation hasn't happened for many decades.”

She added the “vagaries of payments” mean it will be summer 2018 before the sector can “expect to see an increase in reimbursement prices”.

“The great problem at the moment is to identify whether the impact is a cash flow problem – that we may be able to get through – or whether there is an underlying issue [of whether some pharmacies can continue to operate] as a result of the swingeing cuts,” she said.

Limited benefit of rise in advance payments 

The 15p-per-item increase in advance payments PSNC negotiated with pharmacy minister Steve Brine for November alone did “alleviate the worst of the dip for some”, Ms Sharpe said.

However, the increase did not provide “anything like the smooth delivery of income” that contractors “might have hoped for”, she said.

During PSNC's meeting with Mr Brine on October 23, the minister had been “very positive” in his views about community pharmacy. “But we need to get some meat on that before we move forward,” Ms Sharpe said.

She also admitted PSNC has not yet had any discussions with the Department of Health about negotiating national services for 2018-19.

“We have no idea whether we're going to get a negotiating mandate to move forward with services, or whether we're going to get nothing. For the last two years we have had nothing,” she stressed.

What else did Ms Sharpe say?
Is your pharmacy having cashflow issues?

David Kent, Community pharmacist

No! if you are young eogh to retrain do so iy you are olde enough retire.  I understand that London Underground drivers earn more than most employee pharmacists.

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

Writing on the wall and what is the point of Sue Sharpe,  a long term failed negotiator still champing at the bit as the boat sinks.....Good luck will the last one to leave turn out the lights...Thanks

David Kent, Community pharmacist

Well said.  If the profession had any guts it would have ditched her and her PSNC accolytes many years ago!

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Christ, has she not gone yet? I thought she threw in the towel. Still working out her notice I suppose. Where did the 'negotiating' bit in PSNC ever go with Sue at the helm?

David Kent, Community pharmacist

We already have too many pharmacies, not to mention the ridiculous number of new entrants to the profession from universities who see an oversubscribed pharmacy course as a cash cow

lucas perez, Student

Thr government should relax the control of entry. Anyone should be allowed to open a pharmacy anywhere 

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

The multiples should definitely not be allowed to open more pharmacies. The government should never have allowed them to gain a monopoly- only pharmacists should have been allowed to open pharmacies.

lucas perez, Student

lol .....that's what I'm implying you think I'm advocating more pharmacies run by multiples ...if you really want to improve the service , the system needs to be open to the majority and no a select few ...let the public choose the winners and losers not the cartel we currently have 

L H, Community pharmacist

So say that then.  Bleatings from S Morein etc of "opening up the market" would simply result in the big corporations opening up more shops as they have the funds to do so and take losses until they squeeze out the independents (then consolidate and raise prices to the public directly and via the NHS).  How about advocating that pharmacies should be owned by registered pharmacists who have have a maximum financial interest in X pharmacies...and NOT by corporations who have an offshore tax haven.  

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Money helps to get some laws passed I would imagine. Called corruption when it happens abroad.

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Soldier on then....

Call Me Cycnical, Senior Management

Sell Sell Sell. The government are hell bent on market consolidation. Any pharmacy with high levels of debt to service and low levels of cash are dead in the water unless they sell. Interest rates on the rise too. I dont know how you let this happen to your BUSINESS, simply stop supplying meds with no margin, no other business would be expected to carry on like this. (Dont give me this crap about being part of the NHS, you aren't, there's no parachute for you)

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

"Sell Sell Sell" 

To who who who .............. Will the goverment buy at the cost the pharmacy wants to sell. Don't just make nonsense comments, think how much of work and stress has gone through the process of buying and maintaing the satadards in the pharmacy !!!! 

Call Me Cycnical, Senior Management

Read it again, understand it before jumping to premature conclusions. My business generates over £1.8 million in revenue per month for its independent pharmacy customers. I’m not telling them to sell their business, the government are. ***This comment has been edited in line with C+D's community principles.***

Simon MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

is your pharmacy having cash flow issues  ???.........  what sort of question is that ?

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