I met virtually on Monday night with representatives from our fantastic local pharmacies in Carshalton and Wallington to discuss their concerns around the impact of current funding on independent pharmacies in England, as well as the wider policy and economic environment
A report by EY from September 2020 into this highlighted some of the key issues:
- Pharmacist consultations and other services can relieve pressure on GPs and planned care services, but 87 per cent of pharmacies report they can not afford to take on the staff to provide more services;
- The NHS has encouraged longer opening hours for community pharmacy, but those with above average opening hours are almost 2x as likely to be in financial deficit;
- Community pharmacy funding in England is £2.6bn (2.3 per cent of total NHS England spend), which has already been reduced by c. £200m since 2016;
- Community pharmacy’s role is a contributory factor to UK medicines spend being 16 per cent lower per capita than the OECD average;
- EY estimate that 38 per cent of the pharmacy network is in financial deficit, with 52 per cent of owners planning to sell their businesses;
- By 2024, it is projected that this will rise to 64-85 per cent under current funding arrangements. In EY’s base case scenario, a network wide £497m deficit (19 per cent of revenues) is projected.
I am visiting the pharmacies in Carshalton and Wallington during the upcoming Recess, and I have written to Ministers seeking a meeting to discuss what the Government can do to address this funding crisis.
You can read my letters below, as well as a copy of EY's report.