The sector has had a mixed reaction on social media to the Government’s promise to increase advance payments.

Pharmacy minister Steve Brine recently announced a 15p increase in November advance payments in recognition of cash flow issues caused by the Governments cuts to English community pharmacy funding, the category M clawback and rising generics purchase prices.

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) welcomed the move, but pointed out that for some pharmacies, it could be ‘too little, too late’.

The Pharmacist contacted the Department of Health for comment.

Cash flow issues

Many pharmacists welcomed the initiative, which they said proves there is recognition of on going cash flow problems due to the cuts and category M clawbacks.

‘Simply not enough’

But many also agreed that the extra 15p wouldn’t be enough to solve the funding cuts set out by the Government for 2016/17 and 2017/18.

John D’Arcy, Numark’s managing director called the increase a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction.

He said: ‘The reality is that pharmacists are struggling, in the main, as a result of the unilateral cut in funding imposed by Government.

‘While we welcome the increase in the advance payment as recognition of the financial difficulties facing pharmacy, this is simply a short-term cash flow ‘stop gap’ that simply won’t be enough in many cases.’

The Pharmacist heard similar views from some community pharmacists.

Thorrund Govind, a locum pharmacist, said: ‘I think it’s a step towards appreciating pharmacy but in no way makes up for the funding cuts imposed on the sector.’

Babir Malik, a pharmacist manager working in Scunthorpe, said: ‘It’s better than no increase but I don’t think anyone will be jumping for joy at the news.’

Pharmacist Andy Bells poked fun at the decision, joking that pharmacists should wait until the Government reverses its decision in a few months time.

‘It means nothing until we know it’s staying with us,’ he said.

And indeed, the increase may not last long, as it has only been confirmed for November 2017.