Government loading more debt onto pharmacies makes action on C-19 costs urgent, says National Pharmacy Association
28 May 2020
Ministers have agreed to inject a further £50m of advance funding into community pharmacies at the end of May, according to an announcement by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) today. https://psnc.org.uk/our-news/contractor-update-psnc-secures-further-50m-injection-to-ease-cashflow-challenges/
The NPA said its members will benefit in the short term, but warned that this cash injection loads new debt onto pharmacies, many of which have little prospect of being able to pay it back.
NPA chief executive, Mark Lyonette, said:
“It is now more urgent than ever that the government fulfils commitments to repay all the extra costs incurred by pharmacies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today’s announcement make talks on cost recovery even more urgent. We need assurances on the medium term position, because this new advance effectively increases the level of pharmacies’ debt to government. Many independent pharmacies will struggle to pay it back and should never be asked to do so.
“This advance will make it easier for our members to pay their bills, for now, and to keep vital services going. But it isn’t new money and doesn’t get to the root of the funding problems.
“Pharmacists are bearing a heavy financial burden in order to keep people safe and well. As caring health care professionals, pharmacists have kept their doors open, often at considerable personal cost. They have done this trusting that the Health Secretary will make good on his pledge to strain every sinew to support pharmacies.”
PSNC insists that they aim to prevent contractors having to repay any of the advance payments so far received. The Treasury continues to consider PSNC’s bid for extra funding to cover COVID-19 related costs.
The news comes in the week the NPA and a thousand NPA members wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, about the parlous finances of many pharmacies and the urgent need for new funding.