Community pharmacy teams are being asked by PSNC to carry out an audit on patient consultations to help the body in ongoing funding negotiations with the government.

The negotiating body will ask pharmacies to complete the audit on a single day in the week commencing Monday 29 June.

The nationwide audit will provide PSNC with the evidence it needs to prove the extent to which community pharmacy is having a ‘positive impact on the patient and wider health care system’, this information will also ‘support the ongoing funding negotiations’.

As it stands, patient consultations are not officially recorded like referrals via the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS), yet PSNC believes that have a ‘significant beneficial impact on local communities, patients and the wider NHS’.

PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes noted that pharmacies had experienced a rise in ‘demand for care’ since the Covid-19 pandemic arrived in the UK.

With many GP surgeries and health support services maintaining a closed-door policy during lockdown, pharmacies have had to provide more services than ever before. However, pharmacies have been providing patients with help for minor ailments and answers to complex questions long before the pandemic.

He added that the data that pharmacies can collect on these provided services can make for ‘powerful evidence’ when asking the government for additional funding.

‘Without that evidence of the work we are doing and the impact it is having we cannot successfully make the case for more investment in the sector. I would ask all pharmacies to take part in this audit if they can – much work has gone into making it as easy as possible for you to do so, and results from pharmacies testing the prototype have been encouraging.’

More information will be posted on the PSNC website next week.

Community pharmacy in England has received a cash injection of £350 million in advance funding in two parts since lockdown was announced in March.

Each pharmacy also received £300 to cover payments for protective screens to be installed to maintain social distancing.

Pharmacies bodies welcomed the additional funding but stressed the need for extra funding, rather than advance payments.

After the second cash injection of £50 million, NPA chief executive, Mark Lyonette, said that although the cash injection was needed, it will place even more debt on pharmacies – many of which will struggle to pay back.

‘Today’s announcement makes talks on cost recovery even more urgent. We need assurances on the medium-term position because this new advance effectively increases the level of pharmacies’ debt to the government. Many independent pharmacies will struggle to pay it back and should never be asked to do so.

‘This advance will make it easier for our members to pay their bills, for now, and to keep vital services going. But it isn’t new money and doesn’t get to the root of the funding problems.

‘Pharmacists are bearing a heavy financial burden in order to keep people safe and well. As caring health care professionals, pharmacists have kept their doors open, often at considerable personal cost. They have done this trusting that the Health Secretary will make good on his pledge to strain every sinew to support pharmacies.’