“Urgent negotiations” are taking place between the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and the Government around how community pharmacies are to be funded during the next financial year, PSNC has said.
The negotiator was responding to warnings from North East London LPC secretary Hemant Patel, who said the decision to axe medicines use reviews and establishment payments from the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework would leave pharmacies scrambling to recoup £26,200.
Mr Patel, who has developed a tool he says can help contractors calculate how the five-year settlement will impact their business, argued that the community pharmacy consultation service may force pharmacists to increase their workload while losing money.
The CPCS launches on October 9 and allows pharmacies to earn £14 per telephone or face-to-face consultation.
Mr Patel told Independent Community Pharmacist Magazine: “[NHS England is] getting rid of establishment payments of £15,000 a year, they’re getting rid of MURs worth £11,200 a year, so each pharmacy in England is going to have £26,200 less a year.”
Describing this as a “pay cut,” Mr Patel said: “They are saying you’ll have to do an awful lot of work to get it back. You’ll need to do, for example, work equivalent to 1,871 CPCS interventions to reclaim £26,200.”
Revealing that some pharmacies in his LPC had gone into debt to try and keep their doors open, he told ICP that before contractors make borrowing decisions, “they must have financial and volume-related clarity about the CPCS and the entire five-year period”.
In response to these warnings, PSNC director of pharmacy funding Mike Dent said “some” aspects of funding distribution for next year are still the subject of “urgent negotiations”.
Mr Dent said the negotiator would be publishing indicative income tables once these details are finalised, but said that while these were designed to help contractors predict their income, “this is all highly dependent on dispensing and product mixes, and factors such as local services will also play a part”.
He said that the next five years would “involve significant changes for all community pharmacies, adding: “For all businesses this will involve difficult conversations and decisions – including the possibility of branch closures for larger businesses or consolidations for some smaller businesses – but there are opportunities for those who are able to adapt, as the new services will give the sector the expanded clinical role it has been seeking for many years and will help to put pharmacies at the heart of primary care.”