Pharmacy cuts in England to be announced in October 2016


Pharmacy leaders have urged the government not to renege on promises to rethink spending cuts after it emerged a decision on pharmacy funding would be announced in October 2016.

A letter sent by the Department of Health to pharmacy stakeholders states that after a brief spell of negotiations, a package will be put forward in mid-October 2016 to be implemented from December 2016.

It appears to contradict reassurances made by new pharmacy minister David Mowat at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s annual conference on the 5 September 2016 that the government would take a second look at plans to cut 6% from community pharmacy funding.

He told delegates that it was right to “spend the time” to make sure that it is the correct decision and said he was keen to work closely with the pharmacy profession to do this.

In response to the news that cuts could be imposed within a month, Ian Strachan, chair of the National Pharmacy Association, says: “In what sense is a short stay of execution ‘taking the time to make the right decision’? How is a few weeks’ notice adequate time for the pharmacy sector to prepare for the changes? And in what sense is a brief negotiation behind closed doors the ongoing dialogue we were promised just days ago?”

Strachan urged the minister to be “true to his word” and take the time to get things right.

“To proceed in the hurried manner now suggested would be a flat contradiction of the government’s promises just days ago,” he adds.

Sue Sharpe, chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, says they are looking to the government to take a new approach to pharmacy funding, informed by evidence of the value pharmacy brings to communities.

“Community pharmacy is willing to develop its service to meet future needs, and we need the government to abandon the ill-informed and damaging proposals,” she says. 

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, September 2016, Vol 297, No 7893;297(7893):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20201711

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