More than £20m of Pharmacy Integration Fund (PhIF) money was used to prop up other parts of the NHS in the last financial year, the pharmacy minister has revealed.
In two written Parliamentary answers, Steve Brine said that “£21,799,630 in 2017–2018 was appropriated from the PhIF to support other parts of the NHS”. The total budget for the PhIF for 2017–2018 and 2016–2017 was £42m. In 2016–2017, £1.8m of PhIF money was spent on other parts of the health service.
In his answers to shadow health minister Julie Cooper, published on 8 June 2018, Brine said that the programme of PhIF work began in 2016–2017, and revealed that during that year, the funding for schemes to support pharmacists working in GP surgeries was £0.
In 2017–2018 and 2018–2019, £5m was allocated for this work.
Other money actually spent by the PhIF was £210,000 in 2016–2017 to support community pharmacies to become better integrated with the NHS. A further estimated £2.1m was spent on this work in 2017–2018, and £2.5m has been allocated for it in 2018–2019.
In total, the PhIF spend was £216,305 in 2016–2017, and an estimated £18.2m in 2017–2018.
But Brine said this did not include money spent on Health Education England training schemes that included community pharmacy staff.
He also confirmed that £40m has been “committed” for the fund in 2018–2019.
Brine said: “Delays to planned expenditure did result in an underspend against the funding allocated to this programme.
“As is standard government finance procedure, underspends cannot be carried forward by either NHS England or the Department. As a result, some of this funding was appropriated to support other programmes outside of pharmacy.”