The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committe (PSNC) has just announced that it has begun discussions with government on what it called “high-level community pharmacy costs and funding throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
However, the news comes with a warning: the negotiation process “could last many more weeks”.
“Contractors have already been waiting many months for news on Covid-19 funding and it is frustrating that today’s news only begins the formal negotiations process, rather than giving them the answers they need,” Chief Executive Simon Dukes said on Wednesday (July 8).
However, now that the pharmacy negotiator has got the go-ahead from government to begin the formal negotiations, he assured contractors that PSNC would negotiate for the best outcome after assesing “HM Treasury’s views on pharmacy funding”.
Following several months of discussions with the NHS and the Department of Health, PSNC made a business case in April – based on data from other pharmacy bodies – for additional funding, outside of the £2.592bn global sum agreed for the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework – to cover the Covid-19 related costs incurred by contractors and margin shortfalls.
It said DHSC and NHSE&I recognise the ‘significant effort’ made by the community pharmacy sector in supplying advice and medicines during the early stages of the pandemic and there is an acceptance that additional costs were incurred by the sector.
PSNC warned that the wider sector would still need to collate data on additional costs on a monthly basis to help its negotiations with the government.