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NHS commissioning and funding

Scottish community pharmacy sees first ever three-year funding settlement agreed

The global sum funding package for community pharmacy in Scotland will increase to £188.15m for 2020/2021, and then increase again by 2.5% in 2021/2022 and 2022/2023, Scotland’s chief pharmaceutical officer has announced.

rose marie parr close up 18

Source: Courtesy of Rose Marie Parr

Rose Marie Parr, Scotland’s chief pharmaceutical officer, announced details of the funding arrangments in an NHS circular on 27 February 2020

The first ever three-year funding settlement for Scottish community pharmacy will see an increase of almost £5m for the sector over the 2020/2021 financial year. 

The global sum funding package for community pharmacy in Scotland — which covers fees and allowances — will increase to £188.15m for 2020/2021, up from £183.56m in the previous year. The deal, agreed between Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) and the Scottish government, will see the global sum increase by 2.5% in each of the following two financial years.

Details of the funding arrangments, which begin in April 2020 and run until 2022/2023, were announced in an NHS circular sent by Rose Marie Parr, Scotland’s chief pharmaceutical officer, to hospital board chief pharmacists and other senior NHS figures on 27 February 2020.

The circular states that the new three-year settlement “aims to deliver contractors and Health Boards with the continued stability and predictability established in recent years”. 

Previous settlements have covered one-year periods.

The circular also confirms that Scotland’s new Pharmacy First service, which replaces the existing Pharmacy First services and minor ailments service (MAS), and which is due to begin in April 2020, will receive £25.8m of funding in its first year of operation.

The Scottish government said in the document that it will invest £5m of new money to fund the service in 2020/2021, rising to £7.5m the following year, and increasing to £10m in 2022/2023. 

The circular added: “Taken alongside the existing funding for MAS and the repurposing of the agreed existing funding of £5 million, the total funding pot available in the [2020/2021 financial year] for the service will be £25.8m”.

Pharmacy First will be open to all patients, and offer advice and treatment for a range of minor conditions. Under the service, contractors will be paid for advice and referrals, as well as medicines supply. 

The three-year deal also continues the principle of guaranteed mapped funding income from margin retention, which, the circular says, is likely to be around £65m in 2020/2021. This will give a total guaranteed funding pot of £258.148m for community pharmacy in 2020/2021.

Also announced as part of the deal is financial support for pharmacists training to become independent prescribers, with £3.26m being made available to pharmacy contractors. The Scottish government and CPS have set aside an agreed budget of £1.44m in 2020/2021, increasing to £4.32m in 2022/2023, to support pharmacists completing NHS Education for Scotland’s foundation programme.

A spokesperson for CPS told The Pharmaceutical Journal: “This agreement provides stability and predictability for the community pharmacy network, the Scottish government and NHS Health Boards, allowing adequate time and space to develop and embed pharmaceutical care services”.

“Community pharmacy now has a real opportunity to focus on making a success of the NHS Pharmacy First service, which has been the focus of our recent membership engagement on the road, alongside developing a coherent career framework and independent prescribing strategy for community pharmacy.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2020.20207755

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