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Locum pharmacist alleges breach of NHS contract by community pharmacy to cut costs


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Pharmacists raise concerns that contractors are closing pharmacies, despite locum cover being readily available

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has created a form to help locum and other pharmacists to report about breach of NHS contract by community pharmacy.

According to the association, they have been told by increasing number of pharmacists about contractors closing pharmacies, despite a locum readily available to cover the shift.

The PDA said this is an issue of NHS contractual breach and creates difficulties for patients, and so they have created the form to assist members to report unnecessary closures to the relevant NHS England & Improvement pharmacy contract team.

A locum pharmacist, who does not wish to be named, has alleged that a community pharmacy declined their offer to cover an extra shift for £5 more per hour, and decided to close the store, denying the public access to services.

The pharmacist recalled the occasion while writing in the PDA’s latest member voice article.

“I was in negotiations with the employer in the morning over working an extra shift for them that day. I asked for £5 more per hour which I felt was reasonable for agreeing to change my plans at short notice.

“At 9 am the branch was still needing a pharmacist and was now closed and not trading to the public (I phoned them and checked this) as it did not have a pharmacist and was still offering the shift at the reduced rate.

“For the sake of a total of £42.50 extra covering the entire day, the company didn’t fulfil its contract with the NHS to provide their core hours service,” the pharmacist wrote.

The PDA said enquiries by locum and other pharmacists about how they should raise this issue of NHS contractual breach by pharmacy contractors have increased significantly in England during the pandemic period.

“In this example, like others seen by the PDA, the community pharmacy was aware of a specific individual available to cover the shift and hiring them would have enabled the pharmacy to be open for patients.

“If a community pharmacy employer is failing to meet their contractual arrangement with the NHS, this is an issue of contractual breach between those parties,” the PDA stated.

The association is asking pharmacists to help gather information about pharmacy closures using their online reporting tool.






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