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The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (“PSNC”) have rejected the proposed 2016/17 funding package by the Department of Health (“DH”). The package included cuts to pharmacy funding which could see patients suffer as a result of services being withdrawn. The DH will now have to put together a revised package for 2016/17 or instead, impose the changes on pharmacies in England, which would be unwelcomed news for the sector.

The key facts as to why the PSNC rejected the proposals are as follows:

  • Funding would be cut by 12% from December 2016 to March 2017, to set funding this year at £2.687bn;
  • Funding would be reduced by 7.4%, on current levels, for 2017/18, to set funding at £2.592bn for that year and;
  • Pharmacies would be forced to cut staff numbers and cut services;
  • Are rooted in the governments professed aim to close pharmacies

The PSNC have stated that in the Spring of this year, they put forward proposals in an effort to work collaboratively that would increase pharmacy services and reduce the burden that the NHS bears. However, these proposals were rejected by the government.

Areas with the highest health needs are also to see funding reduced, under the current proposals, with funding being reduced by over 10% next year, this is when the NHS has already stated that efficiency targets of 4% are already too high to be realistically achievable, yet has reduced targets to 2%.

It is to be pointed out that there is no significant difference between the current proposal and the proposal announced in December 2015 by the Department of Health.

Pharmacy Voice chair Claire Ward said this: “This is a bitter blow to community pharmacy after all our hard work to demonstrate the value we bring to the NHS, public health system and wider society.”

“The fact that the government currently appears to be unwilling to match our ambition – despite the evidence, its own warm words for the sector and the out-pouring of support from pharmacy users – is extremely disappointing.”

Scott Sanderson, healthcare specialist at Hawsons, had this to add: “The 2016/17 funding negotiations have been ongoing for some time now, with proposed funding cuts set to be implemented in October 2016, this was subsequently pushed back to December 2016 following the cabinet reshuffle in July. Phillip Hammond’s appointment as Chancellor in July was welcomed news for the sector, with Mr Hammond visiting a number of community pharmacists and lobbying support for the work it does. Whilst the funding proposals for 2016/17 are still to be concluded, we await the Chancellor’s first Autumn Statement on 23rd November.”

To read more, including PSNC’s Letter to the Department of Health, please click here.

Scott Sanderson began his career with Hawsons and trained as a Chartered Accountant, becoming a partner in 2015, specialising in the healthcare sector and small businesses. For more details and advice, please contact Scott on [email protected] or 0114 266 7141.

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