Community pharmacy ‘was seen as integral’ to NHS recovery talks at the weekend, but government needs to commit to funding the sector soon, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) CEO Janet Morrison has said.

She said that a few community pharmacy contractors were invited to attend the Prime Minister’s NHS Recovery Forum on GP Access this weekend. Richard Murray, chief executive of The King’s Fund, which is currently developing a new vision and strategic options for community pharmacy on behalf of PSNC, was also in attendance.

Ms Morrison said that community pharmacy representatives at the forum were able to share the both the ambitions for community pharmacy to play a greater role within the NHS, as well as the sector’s concerns.

‘We believe that with greater integration, capacity and sustainable funding community pharmacy can be part of the solution for big NHS challenges like GP access,’ she said.

But she said that the government ‘does need to decide, and quickly, whether it wants to invest in community pharmacies who we know can do more to help patients and support wider healthcare pressures, or to face the disastrous consequences of continuing to degrade the sector and the critical services that it offers to millions of people every day.’

‘We hope the Prime Minister was convinced of the huge mistake it would be not to invest in community pharmacies at this critical time for the NHS and the public it serves,’ she added.

Last month, leaders from across the pharmacy sector joined forces to write to the secretary of state for health and social care to ask him to address pharmacy’s funding crisis.

The letter to Steve Barclay, dated 16 December 2022, said that with investment, community pharmacy could deliver cost-effective solutions for patients and the NHS, but funding cuts have put the sector at risk.

And today the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) suggested that community pharmacy in England is experiencing an annual shortfall in funding of over £750m, or £67,000 per pharmacy, following the disclosure of data in Parliament last week.