English community pharmacies will get an additional £20 million in advance funding by the beginning of July “to further mitigate cash flow issues that contractors are facing” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The total advance funding this month is smaller than in previous months because although contractors are still reporting additional Covid-19 related costs and cashflow problems, these are less than those which they experienced through the initial peak of the pandemic,” the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said in a statement yesterday (June 29).

“These ongoing costs must be covered, but there is also now an urgent need to reach an overall settlement on community pharmacy Covid-19 related funding, including on how the advance funding may need to be paid back in future,” the PSNC added.

The latest amount brings the total of advanced payments to £370m towards covering Covid-related financial troubles.

The NHS Business Services Authority has clarified that “this uplift” is not additional funding over and above what was agreed under the 5-year national contract.

“The uplift will be reconciled in 2020/21,” NHS BSA said adding: “However, the mechanism and the time period over which reconciliation will take place has not yet been agreed with the PSNC.”

Contractors should note that this uplift will not show on their schedule of payment, but the NHSBSA will be sending a letter to each contractor outlining their uplift.

The PSNC said it would continue to press the government to negotiate a deal whereby community pharmacy contractors will be spared from paying back these monies.

“PSNC’s bid for additional funding for the sector is still being considered by HM Treasury and the Department of Health and Social Care – we will update contractors as soon as we can,” it noted.

Chief Executive Simon Dukes said: “These advance funding payments, combined with the continued uplift in reimbursement prices, should help to ease the immediate cashflow and procurement problems that we know many pharmacy businesses are still grappling with as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. What contractors need now is certainty about the rest of the funding for this year: PSNC will keep fighting for this.”

The NHSBSA is analysing payments with the intention that the extra £20m can be paid at the same time as the July 1 payment.

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