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Pharmacy First service described as ‘slow’, ‘challenging’ and ‘underfunded’


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Contractors also highlighted the importance of improving GPs’ understanding of Pharmacy First service 

Pharmacy owners discussed the key concerns and priorities for the future at the Community Pharmacy England’s (CPE) digital briefing event held last week (on 7 May 2024).

More than 500 pharmacy owners and their representatives registered for the event, which provided them an opportunity to learn more about the committee’s work in key areas and share their views on important issues.

Major concerns raised by them included underfunding, dispensing at a loss, and challenges in implementing Pharmacy First.

Attendees described the new service as “slow”, “challenging” and “underfunded”, while also highlighting the importance of improving GPs’ understanding of the service.

Janet Morrison, CEO of Community Pharmacy England, briefed attendees about the current climate, CPCF negotiations, and the future outlook.

According to Janet, the 2024/25 CPCF negotiations are still very much ‘live’ discussions, with the Negotiating Team trying to leverage a better deal.

However, pharmacy owners strongly believe that “without investment the volume of work pharmacies provide is unsustainable” – as confirmed by an audience poll conducted by the organisation.

All groups of pharmacy owners agreed with CPE’s analysis of the dire state of pharmacy finances.

Discussing their experiences and priorities for the future, attendees raised concerns about unsustainable pressures and viability of pharmacy businesses in the next twelve months. Many owners indicated that they are in ‘survival mode’ and urgently need to have certainty over sustainable funding.


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