Pharmacy leaders urge Rishi Sunak to invest in sector

A collective of community pharmacy national representative bodies, together with England’s
largest pharmacy chains, have written to the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak.

In the joint letter the Chief Executives of AIM, CCA, NPA and PSNC, along with Boots,
Lloydspharmacy, Well and Rowlands Pharmacy, say they are pleased to see Government now
recognising the key role that community pharmacy could have in alleviating the strain on
other NHS services. But they warn that although the sector is ready to support, this will not
be possible unless pharmacy is properly funded.

The letter calls on Government to help pharmacy to resolve the funding, workforce and
capacity issues engulfing the sector. Community pharmacies are in crisis and after 7 years of
30% funding cuts have reached their limit.

It warns the Prime Minister that without intervention we are moving towards large numbers
of permanent pharmacy closures with many pharmacy owners concerned that they may not
survive this year. This should be a major cause for concern.

The collective of pharmacy organisations say they still strongly believe community pharmacy
can help support the wider NHS and patients.

This should include freeing up millions of GP appointments and providing easy access to
urgent care and healthcare advice through a fully funded ‘Pharmacy First’ service. A wider
role for community pharmacy is also possible in supporting medicines optimisation,
prevention, tackling health inequalities, managing long-term conditions, and so much more.

But the authors are clear that unless the plans for community pharmacy include steps to put
the sector back on a sustainable footing, pharmacy won’t reach its full potential in helping
with the Government’s goals for the health service.

A continual squeezing of the sector’s funding will soon lead to serious consequences for
patients, the letter warns.

Malcolm Harrison, the Chief Executive of the CCA, said:

“The Community pharmacy sector in England is in crisis. The sector currently faces an annual
shortfall in funding of more than £750m. This is more than £67,000 per pharmacy – money
that could be invested to provide vital patient-facing care for the NHS.

With sustainable investment, community pharmacy is capable to transforming the NHS by
freeing up millions of GP appointments, providing easy access to urgent care and reducing
hospital re-admissions. A fully funded Pharmacy First scheme, will bring much needed
investment into the sector and help build resilience and capacity into primary care. Alongside
this, the sector needs an immediate and recurrent uplift in funding to reflect the increasing
workload pharmacy teams are taking on.

But the decision is now in the hands of the Prime Minister to reverse the trend of permanent
pharmacy closures by properly funding pharmacies.”

Read the joint letter to the Prime Minister which was covered by Daily Mail

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