The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) is calling on NHS England and its member to pause and reflect before further implementing the pharmacy contraception service.
NPA board met on Tuesday (25 April) to discuss the Pharmacy Contraception Service and the board decided that – with the community pharmacy sector at breaking point – it cannot support the immediate roll out of this service.
The association believes that with no new funding for the service, and all existing funds in effect already allocated to other pharmacy activity, any payments to the sector for delivery of the oral contraception service will ultimately be clawed back by NHS England.
Tweeting after the meeting yesterday, the NPA said: “We can’t tell pharmacy owners what they can and can’t do. But we can tell them the facts; fact number one is that with no new funding currently available everyone will be a loser from the implementation of this service on the current terms.”
NPA Vice-Chair Jay Badenhorst added: “We cannot be expected to take on more and more services without the increase in funding necessary to deliver them effectively. Meanwhile, taking on additional work when current workload already exceeds capacity risks impacting negatively on the overall quality of care people experience in pharmacies. We still believe this could, in future, be a great new pharmacy service, but not without the extra funding necessary to deliver it safely and effectively. We want to offer women this extra support, but if it’s worth doing it’s worth doing properly.”
PSNC warned earlier this month that capacity in the sector is now so stretched that more money is needed to safely resource additional work. The start date of 24 April was imposed, not agreed, with the pharmacy negotiator.
The NPA aims to remain in dialogue with PSNC, NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care about a way forward for the service.