Community pharmacies in England are due to pay back a £370m Government loan later this year, but many contractors are concerned they will struggle to cover the costs.

The funding was given to contractors in three parts between April and July 2020, as advance payments to support pharmacies with the cashflow pressures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In March last year, the chancellor said the NHS would get ‘whatever it needed’ to tackle the pandemic. However, despite the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) asking the Treasury to write off the £370m — at the time of writing — it has not yet agreed to wipe the debt clean. 

In earlier discussions, the Government offered the sector an undisclosed sum, but PSNC said it had rejected this on the basis of it being ‘far too limited’.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirmed last week (21 May) that discussions on pharmacy funding currently remain ongoing.

In response to the growing concerns over pharmacy finances, the Pharmacist surveyed contractors on their experiences of Covid-19-related costs and the overall burden of the pandemic.

This is what pharmacists who took part in our survey told us about the impact having to repay the Covid loan will have on their pharmacy: