Dear negotiators at the Department of Health and Social Care,
In response to the National Pharmacy Association’s (NPA) letter to Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee chief executive Simon Dukes, I thought I would write my own letter to you directly.
The NPA outlined the very difficult position us contractors are in. Each point raised by them was eloquently put and very real.
The negotiations for the new pharmacy funding contract started in April, so perhaps I should have written earlier. I remember the very timely video by former NPA chair Ian Strachan when the funding cuts were announced. He was so real and devastated, yet no one in government took any notice of his warnings. I really do hope you read the letter from NPA chief executive Mark Lyonette and digest what they are saying this time.
With regards to the NPA mentioning that contractors have put their own money in to survive, I would like to confirm that I have parted with nearly £40,000 by selling personal assets over two years and am still falling behind on wholesaler bills. The fees paid by you to us have consistently gone straight into paying off wholesaler bills, leaving us on a shoestring budget.
We don’t replace staff. Instead, my poor existing employees just carry on trying to fill gaps while I have to watch them struggle, helpless in the situation we have been put in.
The NPA has pointed out that “an uncontrolled and unpredictable series of closures” will quickly become a reality if the new contract does not fund our existence. This will not be a saving to you – A&E and GP surgeries will feel the pressures.
As a struggling contractor, I am very concerned that you will ignore the NPA’s letter and make a statement along the lines of “everything has been taken into account, but...”. If that is the case, we won’t be able to sustain our businesses any further.
Please get on with announcing the contract so I can either get out of the race reluctantly, or help all of the healthcare system to win as a team. We are all ready to join.
A struggling pharmacy owner
The Contractor is an independent pharmacy owner in England