The Company Chemists’ Association (CCA), on behalf of multiple community pharmacies, has responded to HM Treasury’s Autumn Budget Review with an ambitious long-term plan identifying £1.9 billion of benefits per year for the NHS if the sector receives additional funding of £656 million annually.
The CCA has stated that the additional investment would be used across more than 11,000 community pharmacy locations in England to provide more clinical services for the NHS, increasing its capacity and providing cost-savings benefits. They say that this should be welcome news for the struggling NHS organisations facing the backlog of the pandemic.
In the response, the CCA has stated that the investment would allow community pharmacies to provide an expanded range of clinical services for the NHS including:
- Hypertension screening.
- Discharge Medication Service.
- Expanding a consultation service that allows pharmacists to prescribe medications.
- Administer NHS vaccinations.
- Offering a uniform Emergency Hormone Contraception consultation service across the country.
These proposed community pharmacy-led services could support the NHS every year by:
- Moving 8.5 million appointments out of General Practice.
- Releasing 2 million bed days a year.
- Identifying the 5.5 million people with undiagnosed high blood pressure.
- Providing 0.5 million Emergency Contraception consultations.
- Administering 10 million vaccinations.
In a statement released today the CCA said:
“Although successive governments have highlighted the ‘underutilisation of the sector’ to date there has not been substantial investment into community pharmacies since 2014. In 2016 pharmacies were hit with £200m cuts and have faced a frozen budget ever since.
“The CCA hopes that the government will consider the full potential of the sector and its ability to increase access to healthcare and wellbeing services for people across the UK. The Treasury’s revised budget is expected to be announced in April 2022.”
Chief Executive of the CCA, Malcolm Harrison said:
“Community pharmacies are ideally placed to support the NHS as we collectively face into the pressures of the COVID backlog. We have described an exciting vision of the future where community pharmacy plays a vital role in the health of local communities. By supporting the sector, the benefits to the NHS are returned many times over. We’ve seen during the pandemic how valued community pharmacy is. Now is the time to capitalise on that sentiment and support a new model of community healthcare.
Our members’ pharmacies are located in a wide range of settings, on high streets and in local communities, in supermarkets and in late-night retail parks, often making them the most accessible healthcare providers. Investing in accessible healthcare will support the government’s efforts to level up across the country. This is an exciting opportunity, which should allow the NHS to unlock the expertise of pharmacists, like never before.”