On 21 March, the UK High Court will consider two legal actions against the government’s decision to cut community pharmacy funding. The joint hearing will consider cases put forward by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) and the National Pharmacy Association (NPA). Follow the judicial review with The Pharmaceutical Journal’s special report on community pharmacy cuts.
Business confidence in community pharmacy rises for second year since cuts announced, survey reveals
Business confidence among community pharmacists in England has risen for the second year in a row, according to the results of the annual Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking Healthcare Confidence Index.
The Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court ruling that the reduction in funding imposed on community pharmacies in October 2016 was not unlawful, the Pharmacy Services Negotiating Committee has revealed.
Community pharmacy’s chief negotiator has promised a more “collaborative” approach to talks with the government, adding that the ongoing appeal at the High Court would not affect his approach to negotiations.
Business confidence among pharmacists is returning, following the cuts to community pharmacy funding, but optimism remains below that seen in 2015.
17 years of fighting for pharmacySubscription
After 17 years at the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, chief executive Sue Sharpe will be leaving her position at the end of May 2018.
Pharmacy chains are reviewing their business plans and investing in online services and hub and spoke models to increase operational efficiency in the wake of government cuts to community pharmacy funding in England.
So the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) national pharmacy board elections are over for another year. Now begins one of the most important phase: the election of the president of the RPS.
NHS England has confirmed that an additional 71 pharmacies will now receive payments under the Pharmacy Access Scheme.
Following the election result on 9 June 2017 that saw health minister, David Mowat, lose his seat, the new shadow health minister, Julie Cooper, has spoken to The Pharmaceutical Journal about how she and her team are now more determined than ever to challenge the cuts to community pharmacy.
Ian Strachan from the National Pharmacy Association explains why pharmacists should not be disheartened by the High Court’s ruling on the judicial review against the funding cuts to community pharmacy in England.
The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has confirmed it is investigating reports of an unexpected drop in pharmacy payments, which were widely reported last week.
Corrected Pharmacy Access Scheme payments now being sent out, Department of Health assures pharmacies
The Department of Health has sent a letter to all pharmacies eligible for Pharmacy Access Scheme payments informing them that they will receive correct payments due to them under the scheme.
Thousands of small community pharmacies could face closure after the High Court upheld £320 million in government cuts to the pharmacy sector.
A Labour government would halt plans to close pharmacies across England, according to the party’s general election manifesto published today.
NHS England has shelved pharmacists’ funding applications, citing pre-election purdah.
Lawyers representing health secretary Jeremy Hunt have defended his decision to slice more than £320m off the community pharmacy budget in England.
The impact of the government slashing more than £320m from the community pharmacy budget in England was spelt out to a High Court judge on 21 March 2017 as the legal challenge to the cuts began.
The legal challenges to the government’s decision to cut the community pharmacy budget in England — first announced in December 2015 — are due to begin in the High Court on 21 March 2017.
As pharmacy contractors in England suffer budget cuts and their leaders instigate legal action, Northern Ireland pharmacy contractor Terry Maguire argues why this might not be a good idea and what English contractors might learn from their Celtic cousins.
Funding cuts are a threat to the publicSubscription
Pharmacists must be professional perfectionists and activists in the pursuit of excellence, but the reality is that mistakes and accidents occur when we are busy, under pressure, tired or distracted.
Recommendations made in Murray’s review for community pharmacy will not be simple to implementSubscription
Practical challenges, including building closer relationships with GPs, will need to be overcome if the recommendations in the Murray review on community pharmacy are to be implemented successfully.
The government needs to know who is speaking on behalf of the pharmacy sector, former health minister Alistair Burt told delegates at the Sigma conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in light of his experience of dealing with negotiations over the pharmacy cuts in 2016.
The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and Pharmacy Voice have launched the next phase of the ‘Community pharmacy forward view’ in the form of a ‘Making it happen’ document and website.
The UK High Court will consider two legal actions against the government’s decision to cut community pharmacy funding in a hearing set for March 2017.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has denied that the government’s decision to cut the community pharmacy budget in England will deepen the current NHS crisis.
A second judicial review of the government’s decision to cut the community pharmacy budget in England by 12% between December 2016 and April 2017, with further cuts planned beyond this period, has been launched in the High Court by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA).
The Health Select Committee’s evidence session will consider the government’s plans for community pharmacy and the conclusions of the Murray review
Graham Phillips’s excellent and passionate letter about the future of his Southdown, Harpenden, Hertfordshire pharmacy (The Pharmaceutical Journal 2016;297:294) illustrates the quandary proprietor pharmacists have.
The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has applied to the High Court for a judicial review of the decision to implement cuts to community pharmacy funding in England on the grounds that it believes the secretary of state failed to carry out a lawful consultation.
As has been reported in The Pharmaceutical Journal, pharmacy trade magazines and national and local media outlets, community pharmacies up and down England are facing the threat of huge cuts to their income, threatening non-contractual services, patient safety and even financial viability. These cuts, for most pharmacies, amount to around £5,000 a year plus ...
An influential group of cross-party MPs has launched an inquiry into the impact of the government’s decision to cut community pharmacy funding in England.
The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has outlined its plans to respond to the government’s imposition of a funding cut to community pharmacy, including a potential legal challenge, but has advised against strike action.
Government cuts to community pharmacy funding could significantly add to the winter pressures facing the NHS, according to a survey carried out by the National Pharmacy Association, a trade association for independent community pharmacies in the UK.
Despite almost a year of protests and the 2.2 million people who signed a petition against funding cuts to community pharmacy, the government has decided to go ahead. The truth is it had already made the decision, has never engaged meaningfully in any consultation and is now intent on window dressing the consequences, both intended and not. So I want to alert readers to the effect this will have locally in my part of Hertfordshire.
Source: Royal Pharmaceutical Society Vaughan Gething, cabinet secretary for health, well-being and sport, said funding for the community ...
The UK government’s documents on funding cuts for community pharmacy are inconsistent and lack evidence.
More than 1,300 pharmacies will receive additional payments to protect against the full effects of community pharmacy funding cuts in England.
NHS England has announced that the pharmacy integration fund (PhIF), originally proposed in December 2015 as part of the government’s plans for community pharmacy, will total £42m over the next two years. This is substantially lower than the initial figure put forward earlier in 2016, which suggested the fund would amount to £300m by 2020–2021.
From December 2016, establishment payments will be gradually phased out, the Department of Health announced on 20 October 2016.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society says community pharmacists will need widespread support from pharmacy organisations after health minister David Mowat announced community pharmacy funding cuts will be implemented from 1 December 2016.
Health minister David Mowat has set out the government’s planned cuts to community pharmacy in a statement to the House of Commons, dashing the sector’s hopes that the plans would be rethought.
Follow the latest updates on the proposed 12% funding cuts to community pharmacy, which could result in the closure of a quarter of pharmacies in England.
The Department of Health is planning to implement a 12% cut to community pharmacy funding in England from December 2016 that could result in the closure of a quarter of pharmacies and the removal of free health services from community pharmacies, according to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC).
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said that it is “deeply disappointed” and “alarmed” it emerged that the Department of Health (DH) plans to cut community pharmacy funding in England by 12% from December 2016, with a further 7% cut due in 2017.
Patients who require urgent repeat medicines will be urged to see a community pharmacist rather than go to a GP or A&E department to take pressure off urgent care services under plans revealed by community health and care minister David Mowat.
NHS England CEO should not use derogatory language about pharmacy to justify funding cutsSubscription
There is no need for Simon Stevens, the chief executive officer of NHS England, to use language that undermines the role of pharmacies in order to convince MPs that funding cuts to the sector are justified.
Twelve services provided by community pharmacy in England delivered £3bn in net value during 2015, concludes a report commissioned by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee.
Plans to cut 6% from community pharmacy funding in England will not be implemented in October 2016 as originally planned, says David Mowat, minister for community health and care.
Up to 600,000 patients will face significant disruption as a result of the government’s proposed funding cuts to the pharmacy budget in England, according to analysis by information and technology services company IMS Health.
Final details about the £170m community pharmacy cuts, which were expected to be announced in July 2016, have been delayed, possibly until after October 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal has learnt.
Ten non-pharmacy organisations have signed a joint letter to the health secretary opposing the government’s proposals to cut the community pharmacy budget in England.
Reports that the chief pharmaceutical officer in England made inaccurate claims to the All-Party Pharmacy Group regarding dispensing error rates and hub-and-spoke dispensing is deeply worrying. The General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) ‘Standards of conduct, ethics and performance’ states that registrants should “be accurate and impartial when you teach and when you provide or publish information. Do not mislead or make claims that you have no evidence for or cannot justify”.
The government is to reconsider its plans for hub and spoke dispensing, according to health minister Alastair Burt.
In its final response to community pharmacy proposals, the RPS calls for mutual understanding between pharmacy and government.
The government aims to communicate its final decision on the proposed £170m community pharmacy cuts in early July 2016, health minister Alastair Burt told a House of Commons debate on 24 May 2016.
Government plans to expand hub and spoke dispensing across community pharmacies in the UK have been condemned by pharmacy organisations because of a lack of evidence that it will bring the benefits ministers expect.
More than one in four people who would normally seek advice from their community pharmacy would go to their GP instead if the pharmacy was closed, according to the results of a survey released by Pharmacy Voice.
By not consulting with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and Pharmacy Voice on its counterproposals to the government’s funding cuts, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has dissipated the pharmacy sector’s united front against the plans.
The government is clawing back £48m from community pharmacy contractors in England over the next four months, with the possibility of more cuts after October 2016, national negotiators have revealed.
A petition against government plans to slash £170m from the community pharmacy budget in England has attracted 1 million signatures.
Community pharmacists should be able to substitute cheaper drugs, says PSNC in proposals to counter government cutsSubscription
Giving community pharmacists more power to dispense cheaper generic alternatives to branded medicines could save the NHS millions of pounds and prevent the need for planned government cuts of £170m from the community pharmacy budget in England, according to national negotiators.
I find it impossible to reconcile the government’s stated desire to put pharmacy at the heart of the NHS (as stated in its open letter to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Commitee on 17 December 2015) with the suggestion that up to 3,000 pharmacies will close. Worse still is the suggestion that closures will be driven by indiscriminate financial attrition (i.e. ...
The government’s decision to cut funding on a large scale for community pharmacy is short-sighted and will cause long-term damage to patients and pharmacy.
The Department of Health (DH) is seeking views on proposals to allow independent pharmacies to make use of ‘hub and spoke’ dispensing models.
How should pharmacy respond to major funding cuts for community pharmacy? Community pharmacists and pharmacy owners give their views.
How should pharmacy respond to major funding cuts for community pharmacy? Leaders from pharmacy organisations and primary care share their views.
Community pharmacists have ‘professional obligation’ to adopt automated dispensing, says chief pharmaceutical officerSubscription
Community pharmacists have a professional obligation to adopt automated dispensing processes, according to England’s chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge.
Health minister Alistair Burt has confirmed that the Department of Health will extend its consultation on proposals for the community pharmacy sector until 24 May 2016.
Lawyers have given health minister Alistair Burt a deadline of 4pm on 18 March 2016 to respond to claims that the consultation on proposed cuts to the pharmacy budget in England is illegal and should be abandoned.
Pharmacy staff fear plans to slash pharmacy budget will trigger staff cuts and service reductionsSubscription
Grassroots pharmacy staff, managers and owners fear that government plans to slash 6% from the national pharmacy budget in England will trigger staff cuts, according to the results of a survey.
There have been around 250,000 expressions of support for the ‘Support your local pharmacy campaign’ since it was launched on 2 February 2016, according to Stephen Fishwick, head of communications at the National Pharmacy Association.
Alistair Burt, minister of state for community and social care, says that while the proposed 6% cuts to community pharmacy funding are unlikely to be reversed, they do not signal the end of community pharmacy “as we know it”.
Government plans to slash £170m from the community pharmacy budget in England in October 2016 are uneconomic and short sighted because patients will turn to over-stretched GP services and hospital casualty departments to fill the gap in care, according to MPs.
Community pharmacists are being urged to contact their MP to draw attention to the impact of the proposed 6% cut to the pharmacy budget before the House of Commons debates the issue in Parliament on 23 February 2016.
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.
Petition set up to target prime minister over pharmacy cuts, as PSNC warns against strikesSubscription
The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) will be launching a petition for pharmacy contractors in an attempt to combat the government’s proposed 6% cuts to the community pharmacy contractual framework, chair Ian Strachan told delegates at the Sigma conference in Jamaica on 16 February 2016.
RPS ‘gravely’ concerned over lack of data to support proposed 6% cuts to community pharmacySubscription
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society says it “cannot support” the proposed 6% cut to community pharmacy funding because of the lack of evidence justifying why the efficiencies are needed.
Efficiency proposals for community pharmacy will not provide meaningful savings, says Pharmacy VoiceSubscription
Pharmacy Voice, which represents three community pharmacy associations, has spelt out its opposition to UK government proposals to slash 6% from the national settlement for England and have described ministers’ plans for the future of the profession as “ill-conceived and inconsistent”.
The government is not making any presumptions about community pharmacy closures which could result from its proposals for the sector, according to Alistair Burt, minister of state for community and social care.
Making the case for community pharmacy Subscription
Two months on from the announcement that the community pharmacy contractual framework will be cut by 6% in 2016, Sandra Gidley, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, talks to Julia Robinson about her thoughts on the proposed changes and what the RPS is doing to support its members through them.
The ‘worrying’ 6% cut to community pharmacy funding is being motivated by the Treasury rather than being about better planning for the sector, Sir Kevin Barron, chair of the All Party Pharmacy Group, has warned.
Details are starting to emerge about the government’s plans for the future of community pharmacy in England, as part of a consultation exercise that runs until 24 March 2016.
The government has responded to an online petition protesting against the proposed cuts to England’s community pharmacy contract. By 26 January 2016, the petition had attracted 12,940 signatures.
Between 1,000 and 3,000 pharmacies — as many as one in four — could close in England as a result of government cuts to funding for pharmacy, the All Party Pharmacy Group (APPG) has warned.
The impact of 6% pharmacy funding cuts as part of efficiency savings has not been considered and pharmacy professional bodies must campaign against it.
Community pharmacy negotiators are refusing to negotiate with the government over its planned 6% cut in community pharmacy funding in England until it has seen details of the government’s long-term plans and the evidence behind them.
According to the Department of Health and NHS England in their letter about community pharmacy contractual funding for 2016–2017: “There is real potential for far greater use of community pharmacy and pharmacists.” So clearly the NHS has finally appreciated the oft-discussed ...
A hit below the belt for community pharmacySubscription
The subheading “putting pharmacy at the heart of the NHS” from the letter from the Department of Health (DoH) and NHS England on community pharmacy contractual funding sounded great. However, the messages in it were not the Christmas present or the vision and leadership that the dedicated owners and ...
The government faces a strong backlash from community pharmacy bodies over plans to cut the community pharmacy contractual framework in England by 6.1% in 2016.
Government sets out proposed 6% funding cut to contract in 2016–2017 alongside push to drive efficiencies in sector.
Pharmacy funding cuts: the story so farSubscription
When the Department of Health revealed in December 2015 that it was planning to cut community pharmacy funding in England by 6%, shockwaves ran through the sector. Now, over a year later, community pharmacies are beginning to feel the impact.
Automated hub-and-spoke dispensing: technology set to transform the business model of community pharmacySubscription
A facility in Warrington is using automated assembly lines and robotics to prepare prescriptions for a handful of community pharmacies in the north of England. This new model of dispensing medicines challenges the traditional role of community pharmacies but could increase efficiences and reduce errors. It could also give pharmacists more time to deliver clinical services in the pharmacy setting.