MPs debate pharmacy and the impact of Covid-19
12 Mar 2021
MPs discussed the impact of Covid-19 on community pharmacy and funding arrangements for the sector, during a House of Commons debate this week (Thursday 11 March).
Led by the chair of the All-Party Pharmacy Group, Jackie Doyle-Price MP, the debate drew on the findings of the December 2020 All-Party Pharmacy Group Covid-19 Inquiry Report which showed that many pre-existing challenges had been amplified by the pandemic.
Seventeen MPs took part in the debate, including Pharmacy Minister Jo Churchill and her Labour Party opposite, Alex Norris.
Jackie Doyle-Price and several others argued for a more secure financial footing for the community pharmacy sector. “My challenge is for DHSC and the NHS to properly look at how they can make sure pharmacies get a fair deal,” she said.
Several MPs cited an Ernst and Young report commissioned by the NPA in 2020, which predicted that the average pharmacy will be making an annual loss of £43k by 2024, under current arrangements.
Jo Churchill acknowledged that pharmacy teams have “worked unbelievably hard for the past year” and said she is “aware of concerns that current funding isn’t enough”. She continued, “We are still in discussions with the PSNC about the reimbursement of Covid-19 costs incurred by community pharmacy and I can reassure the house that the government will take a pragmatic approach.”
Mark Lyonette, NPA Chief Executive said:
“The level of parliamentary support for community pharmacy is at an all-time high, which is testament to the heroics of pharmacy teams during the pandemic as well as determined advocacy by NPA members and others.
“The clear message from MPs today is that funding must be sorted so that pharmacies can survive and help the NHS recover from the pandemic. The question now is whether the chancellor and those at the top tier of NHS England are listening. NPA members in the constituencies of key cabinet ministers including Rishi Sunak are putting that question directly to them this week.”
To watch the debate in full go to: https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/8ce06e24-7ede-4f16-92fd-a53f302f89bd