Community pharmacies may not be required to open on the late May bank holiday, NHS England & Improvement has said. Â
In a community pharmacy webinar last Thursday, primary care commissioner Jill Loader said that after pharmacies were required to open on the bank holidays in Easter and early May NHSE&I was â€œkeenâ€ that the Monday May 25 holiday would â€œreturn to being a normal bank holidayâ€ with no blanket instruction to the sector to open.
Ms Loader stressed that â€œsufficient pharmacy coverageâ€ will be needed on May 25 and that all pharmacies planning to open as normal on that day should contact NHSE&I to let them know.
Delivery service warning
Ms Loader also warned contractors that pharmacies delivering medicines to patients may only make payment claims for those delivered to patients that are shielding.
NHSE&I has seen â€œvery big claimsâ€ from some contractors for the pandemic delivery service and â€œwill be following up to make sure the requirements of the service are being fulfilled,â€ she said.
DH 'recognises financial pressures'
The webinar also touched on funding issues, with many contractors reporting much higher expenses during the pandemic. Jeannette Howe, head of pharmacy at the Department of Health and Social Care told pharmacists: â€œWe want to reassure youâ€¦ [that] health ministers recognise the financial pressures the outbreak has placed on community pharmacyâ€.
â€œWe are thinking it through and considering with ministers all the elements of that â€“ thinking about drug costs and service costs,â€ Ms Howe said, adding that the DHSC was taking into account Â factors such as prescriptions being issued for longer durations, as well as â€œunderlying market forcesâ€ impacting pharmacies.
â€œNormally those costs flow through the system and are met in the way we reimburse community pharmacies but we realise itâ€™s often a few months before pharmacies benefit from that and thatâ€™s why we agreed to the Â£300m cash injection and we will keep that under review to see if thereâ€™s anything further we need to do.â€