Community pharmacy does not have the workforce capacity to deliver its vision for the future, the chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) Janet Morrison has said.

Speaking at a Westminster Health Forum event on Tuesday 28 March, Ms Morrison said the fifth year of the pharmacy contract should not be rolled out ‘because there isn’t the capacity to deliver it’.

‘The pressure is now so severe that the workforce within community pharmacies can't take on additional activities and services,’ she said.

It was revealed last year that the pharmacy sector would not see additional funding as part of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) for the two remaining years of the deal.

The PSNC last month communicated to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England that new and expanded services, including the contraception service and the Pharmacy Quality Scheme could not go ahead without additional funding, namely a fully funded Pharmacy First scheme.

Ms Morrison said there was ‘potential’ for community pharmacy to expand services in areas such as annual health checks, women’s health services, sexual health, private consultations, and travel vaccinations. However, she added this was ‘pure aspiration unless there is the right funding mechanism to support the capacity to be there to deliver’.

Almost three-quarters of pharmacies are experiencing a shortage of pharmacists, while vacancy rates for community pharmacists have doubled in five years and pharmacists are at risk of burnout as staffing shortages drive up locum rates.