The business confidence among pharmacists has grown for the second consecutive year, according to the new Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking Healthcare Confidence Index.

The annual survey measures the overall confidence of GPs, dentists and pharmacists by using a blended figure of short-term and long-term projects.

This year, pharmacists’ confidence reading showed an improvement on last year, -23 to -17, which is the second highest figure since the index began in 2011.

“It’s reassuring to see that both long and short-term confidence have continued to recover, particularly since pharmacists were understandably shaken by the funding cuts announced in 2016,” said Ian Crompton, head of healthcare banking services at Lloyds Bank.

Nearly 70 per cent pharmacists see online pharmacies as a risk but welcome the innovations like Electronic Prescription Service as an opportunity for growth.

By next year 60 per cent pharmacists expect their profits to soar, which is an increase from 48 per cent in last year’s survey.