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Community pharmacy cuts

Care of older people

On 21 March, the UK High Court will consider two legal actions against the government’s decision to cut community pharmacy funding. The joint hearing will consider cases put forward by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) and the National Pharmacy Association (NPA). Follow the judicial review with The Pharmaceutical Journal’s special report on community pharmacy cuts.

Jeremy hunt, secretary of state for health

Government lawyers defend community pharmacy budget cuts in High Court

Lawyers representing health secretary Jeremy Hunt have defended his decision to slice more than £320m off the community pharmacy budget in England.

The Royal The Courts of Justice in London, which house the High Court and Court of Appeal of England and Wales

High Court told community pharmacy cuts introduced without 'basic fairness'

The impact of the government slashing more than £320m from the community pharmacy budget in England was spelt out to a High Court judge on 21 March 2017 as the legal challenge to the cuts began.

Sue Sharpe, chief executive of the PSNC

PSNC and NPA prepare to challenge government in court over community pharmacy funding decisions

The legal challenges to the government’s decision to cut the community pharmacy budget in England — first announced in December 2015 — are due to begin in the High Court on 21 March 2017.

Illustration of three people sweeping a bunch of leaves on a very windy day

Why legal action is not the best way to address the community pharmacy funding crisis in England

As pharmacy contractors in England suffer budget cuts and their leaders instigate legal action, Northern Ireland pharmacy contractor Terry Maguire argues why this might not be a good idea and what English contractors might learn from their Celtic cousins.

Funding cuts are a threat to the publicSubscription

Pharmacists must be professional perfectionists and activists in the pursuit of excellence, but the reality is that mistakes and accidents occur when we are busy, under pressure, tired or distracted.

Mountainous landscape against sunset

Recommendations made in Murray’s review for community pharmacy will not be simple to implementSubscription

Practical challenges, including building closer relationships with GPs, will need to be overcome if the recommendations in the Murray review on community pharmacy are to be implemented successfully.

Alistair Burt, former health minister

Government unclear about who speaks for pharmacy, Alistair Burt tells conference

The government needs to know who is speaking on behalf of the pharmacy sector, former health minister Alistair Burt told delegates at the Sigma conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in light of his experience of dealing with negotiations over the pharmacy cuts in 2016.

Community pharmacy forward view microsite, https://cpfv.info

Next steps for Community Pharmacy Forward View published

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and Pharmacy Voice have launched the next phase of the ‘Community pharmacy forward view’ in the form of a ‘Making it happen’ document and website.

Ian Strachan, chair of the National Pharmacy Association

Two legal cases against pharmacy cuts to be heard jointly in March 2017

The UK High Court will consider two legal actions against the government’s decision to cut community pharmacy funding in a hearing set for March 2017.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt

Hunt denies community pharmacy funding cuts will deepen NHS crisis

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has denied that the government’s decision to cut the community pharmacy budget in England will deepen the current NHS crisis.

Ian Strachan, chair of the NPA

National Pharmacy Association launches judicial review over funding cuts decision

A second judicial review of the government’s decision to cut the community pharmacy budget in England by 12% between December 2016 and April 2017, with further cuts planned beyond this period, has been launched in the High Court by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA).

Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London

MPs to scrutinise community pharmacy plans in 2017

The Health Select Committee’s evidence session will consider the government’s plans for community pharmacy and the conclusions of the Murray review

Potential pharmacy closure might benefit another pharmacistSubscription

Graham Phillips’s excellent and passionate letter about the future of his Southdown, Harpenden, Hertfordshire pharmacy (The Pharmaceutical Journal 2016;297:294) illustrates the quandary proprietor pharmacists have.

Sue Sharpe, chief executive of the PSNC

PSNC applies for judicial review of consultation on community pharmacy cuts

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has applied to the High Court for a judicial review of the decision to implement cuts to community pharmacy funding in England on the grounds that it believes the secretary of state failed to carry out a lawful consultation.

Over-simplistic view of too many clustered pharmaciesSubscription

As has been reported in The Pharmaceutical Journal, pharmacy trade magazines and national and local media outlets, community pharmacies up and down England are facing the threat of huge cuts to their income, threatening non-contractual services, patient safety and even financial viability. These cuts, for most pharmacies, amount to around £5,000 a year plus ...

Kevin Barron, Labour MP and chair of the APPG

Cross-party group of MPs launches enquiry into impact of pharmacy funding cuts

An influential group of cross-party MPs has launched an inquiry into the impact of the government’s decision to cut community pharmacy funding in England.

Sue Sharpe, chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee

PSNC considering legal action over community pharmacy cuts, but says strike action ‘unwise’

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has outlined its plans to respond to the government’s imposition of a funding cut to community pharmacy, including a potential legal challenge, but has advised against strike action.

Ian Strachan, chair of the National Pharmacy Association

Pharmacy cuts could add to winter pressure, warns National Pharmacy Association

Government cuts to community pharmacy funding could significantly add to the winter pressures facing the NHS, according to a survey carried out by the National Pharmacy Association, a trade association for independent community pharmacies in the UK.

Pharmacy closures are not in the interests of patients or the publicSubscription

Despite almost a year of protests and the 2.2 million people who signed a petition against funding cuts to community pharmacy, the government has decided to go ahead. The truth is it had already made the decision, has never engaged meaningfully in any consultation and is now intent on window dressing the consequences, both intended and not. So I want to alert readers to the effect this will have locally in my part of Hertfordshire.

Vaughan Gething, cabinet secretary for health, well-being and sport

RPS Wales welcomes funding commitment from Welsh government Subscription

Source: Royal Pharmaceutical Society Vaughan Gething, cabinet secretary for health, well-being and sport, said funding for the community ...

Closed pharmacy

Planned funding cuts for community pharmacy in England are not based on evidenceSubscription

The UK government’s documents on funding cuts for community pharmacy are inconsistent and lack evidence.

Keith Ridge, chief pharmaceutical officer for England

Government lists pharmacies that will be shielded from full effect of funding cuts

More than 1,300 pharmacies will receive additional payments to protect against the full effects of community pharmacy funding cuts in England.

Hospital accident and emergency departments

Pharmacy integration fund will total £42m over next two years

NHS England has announced that the pharmacy integration fund (PhIF), originally proposed in December 2015 as part of the government’s plans for community pharmacy, will total £42m over the next two years. This is substantially lower than the initial figure put forward earlier in 2016, which suggested the fund would amount to £300m by 2020–2021.

Pharmacy sign

Establishment payments to be phased out in pharmacy funding overhaul

From December 2016, establishment payments will be gradually phased out, the Department of Health announced on 20 October 2016.

Logo of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS)

Community pharmacists 'will need support' after pharmacy cuts announcement, says RPSSubscription

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society says community pharmacists will need widespread support from pharmacy organisations after health minister David Mowat announced community pharmacy funding cuts will be implemented from 1 December 2016.

Health minister David Mowat

David Mowat announces community pharmacy cuts in House of Commons

Health minister David Mowat has set out the government’s planned cuts to community pharmacy in a statement to the House of Commons, dashing the sector’s hopes that the plans would be rethought.

Closed pharmacy store

Latest update: Follow news and reaction to pharmacy cuts as they unfold

Follow the latest updates on the proposed 12% funding cuts to community pharmacy, which could result in the closure of a quarter of pharmacies in England.

Keith Ridge, chief pharmaceutical officer at NHS England

Community pharmacy sector rejects government plans to implement 12% funding cuts

The Department of Health is planning to implement a 12% cut to community pharmacy funding in England from December 2016 that could result in the closure of a quarter of pharmacies and the removal of free health services from community pharmacies, according to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC).

Sandra Gidley, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board

RPS expresses alarm and fear after funding cut proposals emergeSubscription

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said that it is “deeply disappointed” and “alarmed” it emerged that the Department of Health (DH) plans to cut community pharmacy funding in England by 12% from December 2016, with a further 7% cut due in 2017. 

Pharmacist gives patient her prescription medicines

Patients needing urgent repeat prescriptions will be referred to pharmacies, not GPs

Patients who require urgent repeat medicines will be urged to see a community pharmacist rather than go to a GP or A&E department to take pressure off urgent care services under plans revealed by community health and care minister David Mowat.

Simon Stevens, the chief executive officer of NHS England

NHS England CEO should not use derogatory language about pharmacy to justify funding cutsSubscription

There is no need for Simon Stevens, the chief executive officer of NHS England, to use language that undermines the role of pharmacies in order to convince MPs that funding cuts to the sector are justified.

Sue Sharpe, chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee

Community pharmacy care delivered at no net cost to public purse in 2015

Twelve services provided by community pharmacy in England delivered £3bn in net value during 2015, concludes a report commissioned by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee.

David Mowat

Pharmacy minister announces 6% cuts to community pharmacy will not happen in October

Plans to cut 6% from community pharmacy funding in England will not be implemented in October 2016 as originally planned, says David Mowat, minister for community health and care.

Community pharmacy in the centre of Edinburgh

Pharmacy cuts to cause disruption for up to 600,000 patients

Up to 600,000 patients will face significant disruption as a result of the government’s proposed funding cuts to the pharmacy budget in England, according to analysis by information and technology services company IMS Health.

UK prime minister Theresa May

Pharmacy cut announcement delayed by government reshuffle

Final details about the £170m community pharmacy cuts, which were expected to be announced in July 2016, have been delayed, possibly until after October 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal has learnt.

GP Mark Spencer, co-chair of the New NHS Alliance

Campaign against community pharmacy cuts garners support from other sectorsSubscription

Ten non-pharmacy organisations have signed a joint letter to the health secretary opposing the government’s proposals to cut the community pharmacy budget in England.

Community pharmacy plans must be reconsidered in light of Ridge's inaccurate claimsSubscription

Reports that the chief pharmaceutical officer in England made inaccurate claims to the All-Party Pharmacy Group regarding dispensing error rates and hub-and-spoke dispensing is deeply worrying. The General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) ‘Standards of conduct, ethics and performance’ states that registrants should “be accurate and impartial when you teach and when you provide or publish information. Do not mislead or make claims that you have no evidence for or cannot justify”.

Health minister Alistair Burt

Government rethinks hub and spoke dispensing proposalsSubscription

The government is to reconsider its plans for hub and spoke dispensing, according to health minister Alastair Burt.

Sandra Gidley, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board

RPS says community pharmacy proposals will cost NHS services in the long term

In its final response to community pharmacy proposals, the RPS calls for mutual understanding between pharmacy and government. 

Houses of Parliament

Final decision on pharmacy funding cuts expected in July, health minister reveals

The government aims to communicate its final decision on the proposed £170m community pharmacy cuts in early July 2016, health minister Alastair Burt told a House of Commons debate on 24 May 2016.

Rob Darracott, chief executive of Pharmacy Voice

Hub and spoke dispensing plans condemned for lack of evidence

Government plans to expand hub and spoke dispensing across community pharmacies in the UK have been condemned by pharmacy organisations because of a lack of evidence that it will bring the benefits ministers expect.

GP surgery waiting room

One in four would visit GP if their local pharmacy closedSubscription

More than one in four people who would normally seek advice from their community pharmacy would go to their GP instead if the pharmacy was closed, according to the results of a survey released by Pharmacy Voice.

Magnifying glass

The PSNC needs to be more transparent with other pharmacy playersSubscription

By not consulting with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and Pharmacy Voice on its counterproposals to the government’s funding cuts, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has dissipated the pharmacy sector’s united front against the plans.

Pharmacy sign

Government to claw back £48m from pharmacy contractors in England on top of cutsSubscription

The government is clawing back £48m from community pharmacy contractors in England over the next four months, with the possibility of more cuts after October 2016, national negotiators have revealed.

Members of the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) and Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) during the signing of the petition against the community pharmacy cuts at Elephant and Castle shopping centre in London

Support Your Local Pharmacy petition attracts 1,000,000 signaturesSubscription

A petition against government plans to slash £170m from the community pharmacy budget in England has attracted 1 million signatures.

Pharmacist choosing medicine in front of a dispensing cabinet

Community pharmacists should be able to substitute cheaper drugs, says PSNC in proposals to counter government cutsSubscription

Giving community pharmacists more power to dispense cheaper generic alternatives to branded medicines could save the NHS millions of pounds and prevent the need for planned government cuts of £170m from the community pharmacy budget in England, according to national negotiators.

How proposed community pharmacy funding cuts will affect my business and my patientsSubscription

I find it impossible to reconcile the government’s stated desire to put pharmacy at the heart of the NHS (as stated in its open letter to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Commitee on 17 December 2015) with the suggestion that up to 3,000 pharmacies will close. Worse still is the suggestion that closures will be driven by indiscriminate financial attrition (i.e. ...

NPA and PSNC members protest in front of the Department of Health in London against the community pharmacy cuts

Community pharmacy cuts: a breakdown of a flawed rationale Subscription

The government’s decision to cut funding on a large scale for community pharmacy is short-sighted and will cause long-term damage to patients and pharmacy.

Neon pharmacy sign

Department of Health sets out its proposals for ‘hub-and-spoke’ dispensing Subscription

The Department of Health (DH) is seeking views on proposals to allow independent pharmacies to make use of ‘hub and spoke’ dispensing models.

Pharmacy store sign offering NHS community services

Government cuts to community pharmacy: the perspective of grassroots pharmacistsSubscription

How should pharmacy respond to major funding cuts for community pharmacy? Community pharmacists and pharmacy owners give their views.

Retro illustration of a megaphone representing communication

Government cuts to community pharmacy: the perspective of leaders

How should pharmacy respond to major funding cuts for community pharmacy? Leaders from pharmacy organisations and primary care share their views.

Keith Ridge, England's chief pharmaceutical officer

Community pharmacists have ‘professional obligation’ to adopt automated dispensing, says chief pharmaceutical officerSubscription

Community pharmacists have a professional obligation to adopt automated dispensing processes, according to England’s chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge.

Health minister Alistair Burt

Department of Health extends consultation period for community pharmacy proposalsSubscription

Health minister Alistair Burt has confirmed that the Department of Health will extend its consultation on proposals for the community pharmacy sector until 24 May 2016.

Health minister Alistair Burt

Lawyers consider judicial review of consultation on community pharmacySubscription

Lawyers have given health minister Alistair Burt a deadline of 4pm on 18 March 2016 to respond to claims that the consultation on proposed cuts to the pharmacy budget in England is illegal and should be abandoned.

Pharmacy sign

Pharmacy staff fear plans to slash pharmacy budget will trigger staff cuts and service reductionsSubscription

Grassroots pharmacy staff, managers and owners fear that government plans to slash 6% from the national pharmacy budget in England will trigger staff cuts, according to the results of a survey.

Campaigners hold up a "Support your local pharmacy" banner outside Department of Health offices

Support your local pharmacy campaign gains tractionSubscription

There have been around 250,000 expressions of support for the ‘Support your local pharmacy campaign’ since it was launched on 2 February 2016, according to Stephen Fishwick, head of communications at the National Pharmacy Association.

Alistair Burt, minister of state for community and social care

The future of pharmacy will not be defined by cuts, says BurtSubscription

Alistair Burt, minister of state for community and social care, says that while the proposed 6% cuts to community pharmacy funding are unlikely to be reversed, they do not signal the end of community pharmacy “as we know it”.

House of Commons in London where the debate on the community pharmacy budget cuts are taking place

MPs debate ‘perverse’ community pharmacy proposalsSubscription

Government plans to slash £170m from the community pharmacy budget in England in October 2016 are uneconomic and short sighted because patients will turn to over-stretched GP services and hospital casualty departments to fill the gap in care, according to MPs.

Panoramic view of the Houses of Parliament in London

Union urges pharmacists to contact MPs ahead of Commons debate on pharmacy funding cutsSubscription

Community pharmacists are being urged to contact their MP to draw attention to the impact of the proposed 6% cut to the pharmacy budget before the House of Commons debates the issue in Parliament on 23 February 2016.

Pharmacy signage, green cross

Pharmacies are likely to cut services because of government cuts, survey findsSubscription

Pharmacy contractors in England say free services for patients will have to be stopped in light of government funding cuts, according to a survey of Numark members.

David Cameron, UK Prime Minister

Petition set up to target prime minister over pharmacy cuts, as PSNC warns against strikesSubscription

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) will be launching a petition for pharmacy contractors in an attempt to combat the government’s proposed 6% cuts to the community pharmacy contractual framework, chair Ian Strachan told delegates at the Sigma conference in Jamaica on 16 February 2016.

Storefront of a community pharmacy in the UK

RPS ‘gravely’ concerned over lack of data to support proposed 6% cuts to community pharmacySubscription

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society says it “cannot support” the proposed 6% cut to community pharmacy funding because of the lack of evidence justifying why the efficiencies are needed.

Claire Ward, Chair of Pharmacy Voice

Efficiency proposals for community pharmacy will not provide meaningful savings, says Pharmacy VoiceSubscription

Pharmacy Voice, which represents three community pharmacy associations, has spelt out its opposition to UK government proposals to slash 6% from the national settlement for England and have described ministers’ plans for the future of the profession as “ill-conceived and inconsistent”.

Alistair Burt, minister of state for community and social care

Burt distances himself from ‘3,000 pharmacy closures’ predictionSubscription

The government is not making any presumptions about community pharmacy closures which could result from its proposals for the sector, according to Alistair Burt, minister of state for community and social care.

Two months on from the announcement that the community pharmacy contractual framework will be cut by 6% in 2016, Sandra Gidley, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, talks about the proposed changes and what the RPS is doing

Making the case for community pharmacy Subscription

Two months on from the announcement that the community pharmacy contractual framework will be cut by 6% in 2016, Sandra Gidley, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, talks to Julia Robinson about her thoughts on the proposed changes and what the RPS is doing to support its members through them.

The 'worrying' 6% cut to community pharmacy is being motivated by the Treasury rather than being about better planning for the sector, Sir Kevin Barron, the chair of the All Party Pharmacy Group, has warned

Treasury driving 6% pharmacy cuts, warns All Party Pharmacy GroupSubscription

The ‘worrying’ 6% cut to community pharmacy funding is being motivated by the Treasury rather than being about better planning for the sector, Sir Kevin Barron, chair of the All Party Pharmacy Group, has warned.

Details are starting to emerge about the government’s plans for the future of community pharmacy in England, as part of a consultation exercise that runs until 24 March 2016. In the image, a pharmacist in the counter

Government outlines plans for community pharmacy in England following cuts announcementSubscription

Details are starting to emerge about the government’s plans for the future of community pharmacy in England, as part of a consultation exercise that runs until 24 March 2016.

The government has responded to an online petition protesting against the proposed cuts to England’s community pharmacy contract. In the picture, the Houses of Parliament, London.

Petition against community pharmacy cuts close to 13,000 signaturesSubscription

The government has responded to an online petition protesting against the proposed cuts to England’s community pharmacy contract. By 26 January 2016, the petition had attracted 12,940 signatures.

Between 1,000 and 3,000 pharmacies could close in England as a result of government cuts to funding for pharmacy, said the PSNC. In the image, Alistair Burt, minister of state for community and social care.

Up to 3,000 pharmacies could close after government cuts, MPs warnSubscription

Between 1,000 and 3,000 pharmacies — as many as one in four — could close in England as a result of government cuts to funding for pharmacy, the All Party Pharmacy Group (APPG) has warned.

It revealed that funding for the pharmacy sector in England in 2016–2017 is set to be cut from £2.8bn to £2.63bn, a reduction of £170m (more than 6%). In the image, close-up of a surgical scalpel

No rationale behind cuts to community pharmacy funding Subscription

The impact of 6% pharmacy funding cuts as part of efficiency savings has not been considered and pharmacy professional bodies must campaign against it.

Community pharmacy negotiators are refusing to negotiate with the government over its planned 6% cut in community pharmacy funding in England until it has seen details of the government’s longer term plans and the evidence behind them. Sue Sharpe pictured

PSNC refuses to negotiate until government shares plans for community pharmacySubscription

Community pharmacy negotiators are refusing to negotiate with the government over its planned 6% cut in community pharmacy funding in England until it has seen details of the government’s long-term plans and the evidence behind them.

'Bah humbug' from the Department of Health and NHS EnglandSubscription

According to the Department of Health and NHS England in their letter about community pharmacy contractual funding for 2016–2017: “There is real potential for far greater use of community pharmacy and pharmacists.” So clearly the NHS has finally appreciated the oft-discussed ...

A hit below the belt for community pharmacySubscription

The subheading “putting pharmacy at the heart of the NHS” from the letter from the Department of Health (DoH) and NHS England on community pharmacy contractual funding sounded great. However, the messages in it were not the Christmas present or the vision and leadership that the dedicated owners and ...

The government faces a strong backlash from community pharmacy bodies over plans to cut the community pharmacy contractual framework in England by 6.1% next year. In the image, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) chief executive Sue Sharp

Backlash over 6% cut to community pharmacy fundingSubscription

The government faces a strong backlash from community pharmacy bodies over plans to cut the community pharmacy contractual framework in England by 6.1% in 2016.

All News and opinion

Collage of the key players in the pharmacy funding cuts

Pharmacy funding cuts: the story so farSubscription

By

When the Department of Health revealed in December 2015 that it was planning to cut community pharmacy funding in England by 6%, shockwaves ran through the sector. Now, over a year later, community pharmacies are beginning to feel the impact.

The eight tray-filling cells on Celesio’s fully automated prescription assembly line.

Automated hub-and-spoke dispensing: technology set to transform the business model of community pharmacySubscription

By

A facility in Warrington is using automated assembly lines and robotics to prepare prescriptions for a handful of community pharmacies in the north of England. This new model of dispensing medicines challenges the traditional role of community pharmacies but could increase efficiences and reduce errors. It could also give pharmacists more time to deliver clinical services in the pharmacy setting.

More on community pharmacy cuts

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