With the pharmacy sector 'on its knees' and at 'serious risk of collapse,' the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has asked community pharmacy owners and teams across England to complete a Pharmacy Pressures Survey, which it says will be used to lobby the government and NHS to take action.

'In recent months, we have invested significantly in our influencing work to get the message across to the government and NHS England that the community pharmacy network is facing a fearsome range of pressures and challenges,' PSNC chief executive Janet Morrison said.

'The sector is on its knees and the consequences of the current funding situation, and the damage of increasing business costs, means a serious risk of collapse.'

PSNC says raising the 'unprecedented financial and operational challenges' with the government and the NHS remains its 'top priority.'

'Together with the other national pharmacy organisations, we are working both to show policy makers the severity of the problems and to lobby for Government and NHS action to ease the pressures,' it said.

To inform this work, the PSNC has launched its 2023 Pharmacy Pressures Survey and is asking everyone who works in or owns a community pharmacy to take part.

'The survey results will be critical to help us to show the government and the NHS how difficult things now are for pharmacies, and to persuade them to take action,' PSNC said. 'We will be using the results in our negotiations, in our conversations with MPs, ministers and in national media work as part of the joint #saveourpharmacies campaign.'

Ms Morrison said last year's Pressures Survey 'received a huge number of responses' and 'the results have been invaluable,’ adding: ‘We still use them regularly to highlight the problems facing community pharmacies.’

She said: 'To help us to keep making the case and to push for short and long-term funding increases, we are asking contractors and pharmacy teams to help us once again. A big response to these surveys will give us an accurate and persuasive snapshot of the scale of the problems the sector is facing, which we can use in all our influencing work and negotiations.

'Data always helps us to make our case, and the 2023 survey will provide us with further evidence to support our arguments – both in our ongoing discussions, and through public and Parliamentary forums. This year we have also partnered with the other national pharmacy organisations on a #SaveOurPharmacies campaign and the results of the Pressures Survey will be a key focus for that, with media and Parliamentary coverage already being planned.

'We very much hope that as many people in the sector as possible will be able to take part, and I’d like to thank everyone in advance who will take the time to fill in these surveys - we really value your input.'

There are two separate surveys - one for pharmacy business owners and head office representatives and one for pharmacy teams - to give insight into both financial and operational pressures. Many of the questions are similar to last year's survey, to give 'a clear comparator of how much things have worsened since last year,’ PSNC explained.

The surveys should take around 15 minutes to complete and will be open until 20 February.

Sector leaders have recently called on the government to fund Pharmacy First as the first step in commissioning clinical services, as health secretary Steve Barclay calls for pharmacists to do ‘even more’.

Contractors have also called on PSNC to take a stronger stance in negotiations with DHSC, with some suggesting that pharmacies could take action like refusing to dispense medicines at a loss or stopping providing free advice for patients.

Meanwhile, LloydsPharmacy has announced last month it is withdrawing all its 237 pharmacies inside Sainsbury’s stores this year resulting in up to 2,500 job losses, with Asda and Tesco also announcing pharmacy closures.