Hannbeck warned that any shortage of locum pharmacists will certainly cause unplanned closure of pharmacies

The Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) today expressed concern over the implementation of new off-payroll working rules.

The association has urged the treasury to engage with the pharma sector for further discussions on the issue.

In a letter to HM Treasury, AIMp chief executive Leyla Hannbeck said the implementation of new off-payroll working rules may impact seriously on the services pharmacies provide to people.

“We are concerned that the introduction of these new rules will have a deep impact on our members ability to maintain consistent pharmaceutical services in local communities. We fear that these new rules may impact seriously on healthcare provision to the 1.6 million people who visit pharmacy in England each day, 1.2 million of them for health-related reasons,” Hannbeck wrote.

“Many of these visitors are the more vulnerable people in society who rely on the services that community pharmacies provide to them, without the need for appointments.”

She warned that any shortage of locum pharmacists will certainly cause unplanned closure of pharmacies.

“As we all know, a pharmacy can only legally function if it has a qualified pharmacist on the premises. A pharmacy can only provide certain services if the pharmacist is formally trained in them,” she said.

“Locum pharmacists are an integral part of the pharmaceutical workforce, used both planned and unplanned to cover holidays, days off, sickness and many other absences. They have a variety of training and skills which are not common to everyone, such as; flu vaccination training, CPCS service provision, etc. The ability to select individuals at both long and short notice, from a resource group, with specific training and experience for a specific gap that needs filling is critical.”

Hannbeck further outlined the association’s concerns over the introduction and use of the CEST tool which is not ‘fit for purpose’. The letter called for the treasury to engage with the sector to further discuss how the IR35 off-payroll working rules need to be revised.

“It is vital, that community pharmacy and especially UK based independent pharmacy businesses voices are heard at the highest level as this new tax rule will have a huge implication on all of our members business models, who rely on locum pharmacists throughout the year.

“It’s all very well implementing new taxation tools but they have to be fit for purpose and there needs to be a realisation that this new rule may well have a far-reaching consequences, that go beyond the financial implications,” the AIMp chief added.

The government has announced changes to the draft off-payroll working (IR35) rules last week, which are due to apply to private and third sector engagements from April 6, 2020.

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