The Department of Health and Social Care has refuted a claim that it has failed to meet a commitment to review the funding model for community pharmacy.
The DHSC has today published its response to a report by the Health and Social Care Committee (HSCC) that found the government’s progress on its commitments to support pharmacy ‘require improvement’.
The HSCC report, based on the findings of an expert pharmacy panel, found that demand for community pharmacy services had increased significantly, with some pharmacies struggling to deliver services or even remain open under the existing funding model.
In addition, the panel concluded that the lack of a review of the funding model had negatively impacted on delivery of several commitments across pharmacy.
But the DHSC has today rejected the committee’s claims that its commitment to review the community pharmacy model had not been met.
It claimed that the ‘overall level of funding remains subject to affordability and consultation with the sector on the activity that can be delivered within that funding envelope’.
And it said that the level of funding for the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework 2019-24 five-year deal was ‘agreed’ between the DHSC, NHS England (NHSE) and Community Pharmacy England in 2019.
‘In that document we set out how we envisaged the shift of funding towards services would emerge over the course of the five years,’ added the DHSC, noting that together with NHSE it continues to ‘monitor and discuss progress’ with CPE on a ‘regular basis’.
‘We therefore do not agree with the panel’s rating that this commitment has not been met/requires improvement,’ it said.
Within its written response, the DHSC also pointed to recent funding announced within the primary care delivery plan for a new Pharmacy First service and the expansion of existing blood pressure check and contraception services.
In addition, the DHSC said that NHSE had ‘committed to an Economic Analysis of the sector’.
As part of the HSCC’s pharmacy inquiry, it commissioned six pharmacy experts including National Pharmacy Association (NPA) chief executive Mark Lyonette, to evaluate the progress made on nine specific commitments made by the government – seven relating to community pharmacy and two relating to hospital pharmacy.
The panel asked whether the commitment had been or was on track to be met, whether it was effectively funded or resourced, whether it was an appropriate commitment to make and whether it achieved a positive impact for patients.