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Community pharmacy services

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

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. 

Numark, which is a franchise, has 1,696 independent pharmacy contractor members in England (excluding Rowlands), of which 76 answered the survey online. The results suggest that 62% are highly likely or likely to cut services such as prescription delivery, monitored dosage systems or other free services, while 80% said they were highly likely or likely to reduce their staffing costs. In a statement, Numark said that these changes were likely to hit vulnerable patients the hardest. 

Commenting on the survey to Numark, one member said: “We will become busy fools if we continue to provide free services. Regrettably, it’s the patient who will suffer once again as pharmacies make further efficiencies on behalf of a clueless Department of Health and Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee.”

The government recently proposed a 6% cut to the pharmacy budget, suggesting that savings could be made by adopting a hub and spoke and click and collect model. The vast majority of survey respondents, 77% and 68%, said they were highly unlikely or unlikely to adopt either of these suggestions, respectively. 

Instead, most said they would work harder to try and increase prescription volume, the number of medicine use reviews and new medicine services, and also put plans to refit their pharmacies on hold. 

John D’Arcy, managing director of Numark, said that contractors were being put in an unfair position but that he would urge them to review how they can increase their income before they make cuts that will weaken their competitive situation.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20200729

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