CCA comment: Backbench Business Committee debate on community pharmacy

On Thursday 14th September, MPs warned of “pharmacy wastelands”, amid the growing pharmacy closures. The Westminster Hall debate was arranged by the Backbench Business Committee. Read The Mirror’s article below which covered our comment:

Ahead of the debate, Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive of the Company Chemists’ Association said:

 “Community pharmacies are the backbone of local communities. For them to do even more for the NHS, and to free up GP capacity, we need far greater ambition, certainty, and funding for pharmacies.

The recently announced Pharmacy First service could be a game-changer for primary care but will only free up 6m GP appointments annually – well short of the 30m1 GP appointments we think a fully funded service could deliver.

The current funding shortfall is at least £67,0002 per year, per pharmacy in England. Underfunding has led to 720 pharmacies closing permanently between 2015 and November 20223.  We fully expect that number to reach 1,000 before the end of 2023. The recent Primary Care Recovery Plan announcements only offer the sector the opportunity to earn new money for new work. They fail to fill the historic funding black hole.

The recent chopping and changing of the NHS flu and Covid vaccine programme guidance, has once again left the sector high and dry. Dithering and delay within the Government and NHS is affecting patient access to care. The Government and the NHS, must immediately release the money promised in the Recovery Plan, if they are serious about helping patients.”

[1] CCA, CCA Prospectus – A future for community pharmacy, February 2023

[2] The Mirror, Local chemists suffering £67,000 annual shortfall, say pharmacists’ leaders, January 2023

[3] CCA, 40%+ of Pharmacy closures in last 7 years have occurred in the 20% most deprived parts of England, October 2022

In response to the debate led by Tory MP Peter Aldous, Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive of the Company Chemists’ Association said:

“We are grateful for MPs across the political spectrum for highlighting the fragility of the community pharmacy network, a concern shared amongst our members.

Over 75% of the NHS funding available to pharmacies is for the supply of medicines.  However, it is this element of the work delivered by pharmacies that remains unviable. Furthermore, this is on top of years of underfunding which has created a funding black hole.

We share the concern of MPs regarding the recent announcements of permanent pharmacy closures. Pharmacy businesses of all sizes are struggling. 

The Government must recognise that the funding made available to community pharmacies is insufficient to pay for the ever-increasing workload they expect of the sector.

The Government must fill the funding black hole, address current workforce pressures and rollout promised efficiencies if community pharmacies are to survive”.

Press Enquiries

For media enquiries, contact [email protected] email us

Back to top of page