NPA urges NHSE&I to fulfil promise to review CPCF global sum
The National Pharmacy Association has called on NHS England and Improvement to fulfil a promise it made in 2019 at the start of the current five-year community pharmacy contractual framework to review the funding model.
The sector’s core income was capped from 2019 to 2024 at £2.592 billion, leaving many concerned that frozen funding over that period would do more harm than good within community pharmacy.
The NPA said if that figure had been increased in line with inflation over those five years, the CPCF would have been bolstered by £1.2 billion by 2024, helping to “ensure progress towards a service-led future” for community pharmacies in England.
NHSE&I told Independent Community Pharmacist it could not comment while the fourth year of contractual talks are ongoing.
The NPA said its Board members concluded during meetings last month that “inflationary pressures are eating into funds available for investment in pharmacy services” and insisted NHSE&I was “duty-bound to redress the matter.” The NPA also said sharp rises in the cost of staff, locums and medicines was heaping more pressure on community pharmacies.
“We frequently hear about the cost of living crisis; our members are facing a cost of doing business crisis and it’s every bit as real. The underlying underfunding, significant general inflationary pressures and specific cost increases for pharmacies stand in the way of our journey to a clinically-focused future,” said NPA chief executive Mark Lyonette.
“Pharmacies cannot pass any of these increased costs onto patients and neither can they substitute away from more expensive drugs or staff - leading to an unsustainable financial squeeze across the sector.
“By taking advantage of their position as the monopoly purchaser of pharmacy services to suppress funding, NHS England now risks the failure of the contractual framework’s main missions.”
A study commissioned by the NPA in September 2020 claimed community pharmacy funding will have fallen by £497 million by 2024 and warned “the network was unsustainable under the current financial framework.”