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CPE briefs new Pharmacy Minister about funding and pressures

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‘Many pharmacies would struggle to stay open without further investment in the core contract’

Community Pharmacy England (CPE) Chief Executive, Janet Morrison met with the new Pharmacy Minister, Dame Andrea Leadsom MP this week and discussed a range of critical topics, including funding and pressures.

Janet informed the minister that community pharmacies continue to face immense financial pressures, and highlighted the need for an improved core contract.

She told the minister that 35-50 per cent real term cuts and rising costs have led to closures, consolidations and cashflow.

This has weakened the capacity for the network to respond to displaced patients, increased risk in terms of the safety of medicine supply, and led to loss of service for communities in the most deprived areas, she said.

Janet also talked about the Pharmacy First service, highlighting the operational challenges as well as it’s potential.

She also highlighted the vision produced by Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund and the potential to extend the new advanced service into hypertension management and women’s health to help patients and relieve pressures on the NHS.

But many pharmacies would struggle to stay open without further investment in the core contract, she told the minister.

They also discussed how they could work in the future to streamline communication and referral routes into General Practice.

The CPE plans to start negotiations with the government and the NHS on the 2024/25 contractual framework in the near future.

In the meantime, they are supporting all pharmacies to prepare for implementation of Pharmacy First service, and continue to press for urgent help with the ongoing pressures on the sector.

They are organising a series of webinars to assist the pharmacy sector in preparing for changes to pharmacy services.

A webinar on the expansion of the Pharmacy Contraception Service was held earlier this week, where attendees received practical tips from the experts on delivering the service effectively.

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