Underfunded, overstretched but still extraordinary - the new Editor of the Pharmacist explores how community pharmacy is coping during these unprecedented times

Pharmacy contractors may be relieved that the government has said it will meet some of the significant additional financial costs they have incurred, given the rush to pharmacies by patients in recent weeks during the Covid-19 crisis.

But is the £300m funding announced enough? With cash flow always an issue, already financially stretched independent pharmacy businesses have been crying out for government to respond in recent weeks.

This is not new money. Will additional costs, such as the money that contractors have spent on extra staff to help meet patient-demand and cover sickness, and high prices, ever be recouped? It must be a concern that without extra measures some independent pharmacies may not survive the coronavirus blow that is hitting the UK economy hard.

Increasingly tightened funding over the years – and a government largely deaf to pharmacy’s potential – puts the sector in a difficult situation during this crisis. That pharmacies have responded so effectively, with so much drive, passion and skill, is all the more extraordinary. While it was good to hear the Prime Minister recently give direct praise for community pharmacy, many have asked, why it has taken this crisis for that to be voiced?

I’m in my first few days as Editor of The Pharmacist, joining a great team, and am very aware of the pressures that our independent pharmacy readers are currently under. We will do all that we can to help communicate and inform – do let us know about the issues that you would like us to take up.

Please keep safe.