The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) chief executive Janet Morrison has assured contractors that PSNC will continue to raise with the new prime minister all concerning issues that are bothering pharmacy businesses.
She felt the “fixed five-year funding settlement that is declining in real terms” was one of the serious factors that is putting a lots of pressure on contractors.
PSNC has provided a compelling portfolio of evidence on the impact that pressures are having on the sector, and requested urgent additional funding, she said.
Morrison, in her video message shared yesterday (August 24), urged contractors to keep sharing and sending evidences to act on their behalf.
She said she is aware “this one of the toughest periods for the businesses” and “I believe that it demands more action from the government.”
Morrison assured the sector she was aware that contractors were also facing difficulties in “dealing with global medicines market and the challenges on been able to procure medicines within the drug tariff.”
“I know how hard it is to see the future sustainability of your businesses. I can see you are facing serious workforce pressure, rising cost, shortage of pharmacists, inflation pressure. I know your using facing increase in demand from the patients who has given up on their GPs and turning to you for support and advice.”
She said: “I want to assure you that I know.”
“What is challenging for the contractors is not being able to pass that pressure to the patients and having to work within the devour and not been able to stop the pressure of demand or deliver any further efficiency,” she added.
Morrison assured the contractors that PSNC has been speaking to government and the NHS on a weekly basis to share those concerns.
“Past month, I have written to ministers twice raised those concern on the regular bases. We will continue to work hard with the committees to look up what further options we have to raise these issues at the higher level of the government.
“I want to assure you that it’s not acceptable and it’s not sustainable, we are passing on that message very strongly to the government and we will continue to do that with the new prime minister and new ministerial team.”
Last month, pharmacy bodies urged the Health Select Committee to hold the government to account on pharmacy funding and workforce challenges. Leaders from the sector came together to write a joint letter to the chair of the committee and former health secretary Jeremy Hunt and bring to his attention how financial pressures worsened by nearly a decade of a real-term decrease in funding have made the sector virtually untenable.
PSNC’s recently published ‘Pharmacy Pressures Survey’ confirms how this has had an impact on pharmacy contractors, their teams as well as patients.
The survey found that 91 per cent of pharmacies are experiencing staff shortages. At the same time, demand for community pharmacists has risen – nine in ten pharmacy teams reported a significant increase in phone calls from patients about prescriptions, and 86 per cent reported a rise in requests for healthcare advice.