Ministers have agreed to inject a total of £300 million of advance funding into community pharmacies over the next two months in recognition of the significant cash flow pressures facing the sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic, PSNC has announced.
The two injections will be worth £200 million on 1st April 2020 (or soon after) and £100 million at the end of April/early May.
PSNC has been in negotiations with Ministers and the NHS for a number of weeks, making the case for urgent cash flow assistance to help contractors this month.
They are also in ongoing discussions about the need for more funding for the sector to recognise increasing costs arising from factors such as increasing prescription numbers, staffing costs, one-off costs and rising drugs bills, all resulting from the pandemic.
PSNC has told HM Government that it is not sufficient to cover contractors’ rising costs and to help them to manage the new pressures on their businesses.
PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said: ‘In negotiations over the past month we have made clear to HM Government that community pharmacy is at a critical point, with pharmacy teams and businesses under extreme pressure and many pharmacies now not financially viable.
‘We welcome the intention of this cash injection, and in particular Ministers’ recognition of the impressive way in which pharmacies are rising to the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. But this funding gesture alone is not enough: we have informed HM Government that it simply will not be sufficient to help many contractors to meet the rapidly increasing costs that they are facing as a result of this pandemic.
‘We are continuing our dialogue with the Minister, with officials and with the NHS, and in the coming days we and the other national pharmacy organisations will be putting yet more evidence to them, trying to persuade them of the very urgent need for further emergency funding support, over and above the agreed global sum of £2.592 billion, for this vital part of the NHS.’