NPA call on NHS England to give community pharmacy ‘new money’


Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will reveal the findings of his long-anticipated spending review.  It has been widely reported that there will be an uplift in the budget available to the NHS, to support the health service’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.


The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has today written to NHS England’s chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens, asking that some of this new money is used to support the hard-pressed community pharmacy sector.


In his letter to Sir Simon, the NPA’s chief executive, Mark Lyonette warned:


“If the current pharmacy funding arrangements continue unchanged, many pharmacies [in England] will be unable to survive – limiting access to health services in villages, towns, urban areas and in rural communities. The inevitable result will be more pressure on the NHS.


“We were delighted to hear that the Chancellor will announce a further £3bn funding for the NHS in the Spending Review this week. We very much hope that some of this extra funding will be used to prevent the community pharmacy network falling over and help us keep the doors open for vital NHS care.”



Extra £1.1 billion for Scottish health and social care sector


Scotland’s health and social care sector will receive £1.1 billion in additional funding to support its work through coronavirus (COVID-19) pressures, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has announced.


The funding will be allocated to NHS Boards and Health and Social Care Partnerships across Scotland to help them meet COVID-19 related costs such as additional staffing or sickness expenditure, enhanced infection prevention and control measures, and the purchase of PPE.


Health and social care funding rose to more than £15 billion for the first time under the 2020-21 Budget, with more than £100 million delivered in excess of Barnett consequential to support frontline services as part of the overall uplift.


The money has been allocated as follows:



Ms Freeman said:


“The health and social care sector has a critical frontline role in responding to the single greatest public health crisis of our lifetimes, and I want to pay tribute to all staff involved for their heroic efforts to overcome the many challenges presented by this pandemic.


“As we continue to safely remobilise our health and social care sector, the Scottish Government is taking action to support services’ capacity to deal with the ongoing presence of COVID 19, and continue preparations for the wider pressures of the winter season.


“This funding ensures the sector will continue to receive the support required to deal with the additional challenges of the pandemic, whilst still delivering the vital health, social care and hospital-based services the public rely on every day.”


This article is being shared under the Open Government Copyright licence.



Landmark funding deal for NI community pharmacies


A new £13.25 million funding package for community pharmacy has been announced today by Health Minister Robin Swann.


This funding is being made available up to March 2021 and is in addition to a confirmed recurrent financial envelope of £112.4m for 2020/21. It also adds to a previous investment of £7.5m for the period April to June 2020 which ensured that pharmacies could continue to maintain the supply of essential medicines during the initial stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.


The funding announced today will ensure that, as well as the core dispensing service provided by all pharmacies, community pharmacies will begin to provide additional services from July 2020 to meet the needs of patients during the pandemic period.


  • An emergency supply service started in phase one of the pandemic, will continue.
  • Services for smoking cessation and opiate substitution therapy, suspended during the initial phases of the emergency response, will re-commence.
  • An enhanced on-call palliative care service will be provided and a new service developed for care homes.
  • A ‘Pharmacy First’ service will provide a consultation with a pharmacist for access to advice and treatment for common conditions, avoiding the need for the public to attend GP/OOH/ED services.
  • Pharmacies will provide targeted advice and signposting for mental and physical health promotion.
  • A medicines delivery services will be developed for vulnerable groups.


Today’s announcement is the outcome of collaborative working between the Department of Health, Community Pharmacy Northern Ireland (CPNI) and the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB).


Speaking during a visit to McKay’s Pharmacy in Belfast, Health Minister Robin Swann said:


“I am very pleased to be able to announce this investment in community pharmacy, which has responded promptly and professionally to the Covid-19 emergency response.


“I fully understand the historical challenges faced by the sector. This agreement provides a firm foundation that will enable community pharmacy to play a full part in the future of the HSC.”


Cathy Harrison, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at the Department of Health, said:


“Every day our community pharmacy staff work with the utmost professionalism on the frontline of the HSC, providing accessible services for the public. This agreement shows that we are backing our community pharmacy teams as we continue to work through the uncertainty of the coming months and towards a more positive future.”


Joe Brogan, Head of Pharmacy and Medicines Management at the Health and Social Care Board, said: 


“People rely upon their local pharmacies for medicines and advice from an accessible, trusted and respected health care professional. Community pharmacy teams have been exceptionally valuable in supporting the public, particularly in the recent past through very challenging times. With this funding confirmed we anticipate being able to support and develop the pharmacy services that the public need throughout 20/21.”


Gerard Greene, Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy Northern Ireland, said:


“We welcome the announcement from the Department of Health. This funding will allow the community pharmacy network to sustain and develop services to build upon its vital, frontline role. This allocation signals a move forward for community pharmacy as a key service in the new post-COVID health and social care system supporting important service provision to patients. It is a clear recognition of the critical role of the sector, not only in the safe supply of medicines but as the fabric which holds local communities together in times of crisis.”


Minister Swann concluded: 


“This is the first time that an agreement on the commissioning and funding of community pharmacy has been reached in Northern Ireland and I recognise all the hard work that has brought us here today. I welcome the new approach to collaborative working which I believe will be beneficial for the HSC, pharmacies, and all those who use their services.”



Contractors in England to get £50 million advance payment


In an attempt to address community pharmacy cash flow issues that contractors in England are facing due to COVID-19, a total uplift of £50 million will be made to contractors’ ‘advance payments’ on 1st June.


The calculation of the uplift for an individual pharmacy contractor is equal to the percentage uplift when £50 million is added to the total of April’s advance payments (calculated as per usual arrangement).


Pharmacy contractors should note that this uplift will not show on their schedule of payment but the NHSBSA will be sending a letter to each contractor outlining their uplift.


This uplift similarly to the £300 million uplift made in previous months is not additional funding over and above what was agreed for 2020/21 under the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework 5-year deal. The uplift will be reconciled in 2020/21.


However, the mechanism and the time period over which reconciliation will take place has not yet been agreed with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC).


*different arrangements will apply for pharmacies opening in May. Pharmacies, which closed in May, will not receive this uplift.


PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said:


“Since March PSNC has been highlighting to HM Government both the significant cashflow problems facing community pharmacy contractors and the urgent need for more investment in the sector to cover COVID-19-related costs. Our requests for cashflow assistance have once again led to a cash injection and, combined with the £15m increase in medicines prices in June, this should help to ease some of the immediate cash flow and procurement pressures on businesses.


“In addition, our funding bid to cover the unprecedented costs that contractors are currently facing is now with HM Treasury, and while it is frustrating that these negotiations are taking some time, we are continuing to press for answers.


“We do not know how this pandemic will develop and the long-term effects it will have on pharmacy, but we will continue to gather evidence of contractors’ costs and other financial pressures and to press for margin adjustments and further financial assistance wherever we have a case to do so.”


NPA chief executive, Mark Lyonette, said:


“It is now more urgent than ever that the government fulfils commitments to repay all the extra costs incurred by pharmacies during the COVID-19 pandemic.


“Today’s announcement make talks on cost recovery even more urgent. We need assurances on the medium-term position because this new advance effectively increases the level of pharmacies’ debt to government.  Many independent pharmacies will struggle to pay it back and should never be asked to do so.


“This advance will make it easier for our members to pay their bills, for now, and to keep vital services going. But it isn’t new money and doesn’t get to the root of the funding problems.


“Pharmacists are bearing a heavy financial burden in order to keep people safe and well.  As caring health care professionals, pharmacists have kept their doors open, often at considerable personal cost. They have done this trusting that the Health Secretary will make good on his pledge to strain every sinew to support pharmacies.”


Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Pharmacy Board Chair Claire Anderson said:


“Pharmacy teams continue to work tirelessly to support patients, the Government and the NHS during the COVID-19 crisis.


“While this funding may help pharmacies stay open to provide vital services and healthcare advice to the public, it’s another stop-gap measure and should be coming from new money, rather than an advance payment. The Government should review this as part of a fair funding settlement for the longer-term.


“The ‘new normal’ for the NHS coping with COVID-19 will need a contract which makes the most of pharmacists’ clinical skills to support patients, improve medicines safety, and help people stay healthy and out of hospital.


“The NHS and Government now need to back pharmacy and build on the incredible work the profession during COVID-19 to support patient care.”




Scottish contractors secure funding for May bank holiday opening


The Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Scotland has written to the community pharmacy network in Scotland to inform them of the arrangements around additional bank holiday funding to the network in Scotland.


The circular (see below) outlines the agreed arrangements for fee’s payable for community pharmacy contractors providing pharmaceutical care services on the May Bank Holidays.


Community pharmacy contractors have been requested, where possible and safe to do so, to open and provide a full range of pharmaceutical care service on either both or one of the scheduled May public holidays; or if this holiday falls in early June, taking account of regional variation.


Fees payable will be set at the same level as that provided for opening on Good Friday and Easter Monday: that is, £1,200 for a full day opening; £700 for a half-day opening.


The Chief Pharmaceutical Officier for Scotland Rose Marie Parr recognised that opening at Easter was a significant ask especially given that many community pharmacy teams had already given up their Easter break already. She added that the community pharmacy network was best positioned to anticipate and support demand and that given the prolonged nature of the pandemic it would important to have support form the community pharmacy network during the May bank holiday.


Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy Scotland Harry McQuillan made comment about the announcement in the now regular YouTube video. You can view the video below.



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This circular is being shared under the Open Government Copyright licence.