CCA warns government over broken pharmacy funding
By Neil Trainis
The Company Chemists’ Association chief executive Malcolm Harrison has reminded the government that the value of the community pharmacy contractual framework in England comtinues to dwindle significantly, leaving pharmacies across the country at risk of closure.
Responding to Department of Health and Social Care figures that were divulged to parliament last week by the health minister Will Quince which showed a drop in real terms funding for the sector from £2.8 billion in 2015-16 to £2.154 billion in 2022-23, Harrison said pharmacies were each losing an average of £67,000 a year.
Warning the community pharmacy sector was losing £750 million annually and insisting the contract would now be worth over £3.3 billion if government funding had kept pace with the increase in gross domestic product since 2015, Harrison (pictured) said: “The Department have finally confirmed what we have felt for many years, that community pharmacy is now seriously underfunded.”
The UK economy grew by 0.5 per cent in October last year following a 0.6 per cent decline in the previous month, although a long recession beckons.
Harrison said the shortfall in pharmacy funding of more than £750 million could have been invested in frontline pharmacy staff which would have allowed pharmacies to “provide even more vital patient-facing care for the NHS.” However, he said the latest official figures confirmed “the funding model for pharmacy in England is truly broken.”
“Unfortunately, the government and the NHS expect pharmacy teams to do more and more without the funding the sector needs,” Harrison said.
“This cannot continue. Without immediate investment, we will see the continued erosion of the service pharmacies can provide.”