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Community pharmacies funded £250 per hour to stay open over bank holiday

By Isabel Shaw

09 Apr 2020

Community pharmacies told to open for three fixed hours on both Good Friday and Easter Monday will be paid £250 per hour, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has confirmed.

The payment announcement made last night by PSNC, said the funding will be claimable for through the manager service application via the Business Services Authority.

This news comes following an NHS announcement last week which said that community pharmacies must remain open on Good Friday and Easter Monday between 2pm and 5pm, to help GP surgeries.

NHSE&I had initially said that pharmacies who stayed open would not receive a bank holiday premium.

However, Jill Loader, deputy director for pharmacy commissioning at NHS England and NHS Improvement, said that the new funding announcement ‘does reflect some acknowledgement that it is a bank holiday.’

Earlier decision needed for May

Contractor and managing director of Whitworth Chemists, Jay Badenhorst, welcomed the new funding but said he wished the announcement had come sooner.

‘We had to get commitment from staff to come into the pharmacies without knowing what additional payments we could give to them.

‘But I’m happy with the funding, I think it recognises that staff are coming in and sacrificing precious time that they would probably have spent with their families,’ he told The Pharmacist.

PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes echoed this view, saying: ‘The negotiations over Easter opening hours have concluded much later than we had hoped and we know that this has caused considerable logistical challenges for contractors.

‘We are pleased to have reached agreement on a funding rate though and we look forward to resolving similar questions around the May Bank Holidays much earlier.’

Last week, many pharmacy teams and pharmacy bodies said that forcing exhausted community pharmacy teams to open over the bank holiday weekend was ‘unnecessary.’

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