The PSNC has agreed an interim community pharmacy funding deal for 2019-20 with the government in what pharmacy’s negotiator hopes will be the precursor to “substantial negotiations on future pharmacy funding.”

The interim arrangements will see community pharmacy funding levels stay the same from April 1 this year in line with the current annual funding envelope of £2.592 billion while Category M prices will rise by £10 million per month.

Contractors will also be paid for a maximum of 200 medicines use reviews (MURs) from April 1 to September 30 this year and the single activity fee will be set to continue delivering funding, although the PSNC stressed its level “is still under discussion with (Department of Health and Social Care) and as such may be adjusted later this year.”

The PSNC said discussions about MURs “will form part of the wider negotiations which we expect to begin in the next month” while the future of the quality payments scheme will also form part of those talks.

Pharmacies receiving pharmacy access scheme payments will continue to do so, with monthly payments from April this year remaining the same as payments made during the last financial year.

The interim funding arrangements will apply until the PSNC’s negotiations, which it believes will start before Easter, have finished.

“We expect to begin these negotiations before Easter and hope that any substantive changes to the community pharmacy contractual framework will be agreed in time to be implemented from October 2019,” the PSNC said.

Its chief executive Simon Dukes said: “We are pleased that (the Department of Health and Social Care) and NHS England expect to be in a position to begin negotiations on community pharmacy shortly and we are looking forward to exploring with them developments that will ensure that community pharmacies can play a key part in the developing primary care systems for the benefit of patients.

“In the meantime, this interim funding arrangement will protect current funding levels for pharmacies and we welcome the £10 million monthly increase in Category M prices.”

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