A written parliamentary answer has revealed the severity of underfunding for the community pharmacy sector in England. There is currently an annual funding shortfall of more than £67,000 per pharmacy in England.
Commenting, Malcolm Harrison, chief executive of the CCA said:
“The Department have finally confirmed what we have felt for many years, that community pharmacy is now seriously underfunded. If funding for the sector kept pace with growth in GDP since 2015/16, the value of the contract in 2022/23 would be more than £3.36bn.
There is currently an annual shortfall in funding of more than £750m. This equates to more than £67,000 per pharmacy – money that could be invested in frontline pharmacy staff allowing pharmacists to provide even more vital patient-facing care for the NHS.
This is yet further confirmation that the funding model for pharmacy in England is truly broken.
Unfortunately, the Government and the NHS expect pharmacy teams to do more and more without the funding the sector needs. This cannot continue. Without immediate investment, we will see the continued erosion of the service pharmacies can provide.”
- Shadow Primary Care Minister Feryal Clark MP tabled a written parliamentary question asking about the difference between real and nominal funding provided through the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework, accounting for changes in GDP, in each year since 2015/16.
- The parliamentary written answer is available online here.
- In 2015/16, the value of the contract was £2.8bn.
- If the value of the contract increased in line with GDP, it would be worth £3.3684bn in 2022/23 (£2.8bn in 2015/16 multiplied by 1.203 – the growth in GDP since 2015/16).
- This value (3.3684bn) minus the value of the current contract (£2.592) is £776.4m. Therefore, under the current five-year contract, there is currently an annual shortfall of more than £750m per year.
- Assuming there are 11,500 active community pharmacies (see NHSBSA, 2021/22 data) that equals a shortfall of £67,513 per pharmacy.