Simon Dukes, CEO, PSNC

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has called on community pharmacy contractors to cease providing services that fall outside the contractual framework free of charge.

PSNC chief executive Simon Dukes said the pharmacy funding is unsustainable with no further funding available to date despite talks with the government on Covid-related costs.

“I have to advise contractors that given the very treacherous financial situation which many pharmacies are in, it is simply not possible for many to continue to offer extra services free of charge,” he said.

“This advice is not given lightly – of course all community pharmacies want to do all that they can for the benefit of their patients. But as a sector we have for many years offered services free of charge or at a tariff that does not even cover our costs, and this simply is not sustainable in the current funding environment

The call follows reports from contractors who are increasingly being asked to pick up primary care work which would normally fall outside of pharmacies’ funded services.

Much of this work has been prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic and is not funded via the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework, PSNC noted.

Contractors have the right to charge for some of these services or declare their inability to offer them in such situation, it added.

“Without action to balance costs, the core professional services of pharmacies may all be at risk, and this would have a significant and detrimental impact on patients which must be avoided,” Dukes said.

“Many businesses have already taken decisions to introduce charges for some services on a cost recovery basis, and I would encourage contractors to explore this option where they can.”

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