Following on from the Autumn Statement 2022 and the announcement of additional funding for the NHS, the CCA’s Chief Executive Malcolm Harrison made the following statement:
“Additional funding to the NHS is welcome but the Government must set out their plans to improve primary care access without delay. Improving accessibility to primary care will be impossible without investment for community pharmacy. The network of around 11,000 community pharmacies in England is on the brink of collapse after 25% real terms decrease in funding, spanning eight years.
In 2021/22 community pharmacies in England dispensed more than 1 billion NHS prescribed medicines for patients. Based on current rates of growth, we expect this figure will grow by a further 100 million items by 2025/26. Rising patient demand for pharmacies can only be met through additional funding.
The NHS workforce plan to be published next year is also welcome but pharmacists, especially the pharmacist workforce in the community sector, must be included. Policymakers need to urgently recognise the difficulties pharmacy businesses of all sizes are facing in finding pharmacists. The sector desperately needs a comprehensive picture of the forecasted community pharmacist workforce. Any plan must be supported by clear actions to reduce the demand on and increase the supply of pharmacy professionals.
Community pharmacy has clearly demonstrated what it can deliver to patients, this can only continue if Government urgently review the economic and workforce crisis the sector is facing.”