Simon Dukes, CEO, PSNC

The Chief Executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has said that securing a cash injection into community pharmacy was his top priority.

During a virtual press briefing today, Simon Dukes said the PSNC was urgently dealing with the cashflow cliff edge facing community pharmacy, in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

“We need to have additional cash injected into the system,” he said, so that contractors could pay the bills they would be facing from suppliers, staff and locums, in addition to other “inevitable costs” associated with the crisis.

Acknowledging that contractors could not have anticipated the rising costs due to the coronavirus pandemic, he said the PSNC was pressing the government hard to release “additional funding” for the sector so it can get through the crisis.

Thanking frontline pharmacy staff for their “most amazing job”, he said the PSNC, along with other pharmacy bodies, was pushing hard for a greater national recognition of community pharmacy.

“They are putting themselves at risk every single day,” Dukes said.

He said although government processes were causing delays in the launch of the new ‘medicines delivery service,’ the PSNC was “working flat out” to obtain the service specifications from the NHS and DHSC.

“In order to get a service like this rolled out, regulations have to be made, law has to be changed and that has a process and a timescale that we have to work within.”

He added that the PSNC was also pushing public health authorities to “relook at and revisit their guidance on how frontline pharmacy should be using PPE.”

Dukes singled out Pharmacy Minister Jo Churchill for genuinely “working hard on our behalf.”

“I am on the phone to her every day… She has wider responsibilities than just community pharmacy, but the amount of time she’s devoting to us is appropriate and I found her (to be) a very willing and interested partner in our deliberations and working on our behalf.”

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