Simon Dukes, CEO, PSNC

Community pharmacy contractors in England can now claim a range of costs incurred during the coronavirus pandemic, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) chief executive Simon Dukes has confirmed in his latest blog.

This follows a deal reached between his team at the PSNC and the government.

“Every contractor: big and small; independent and multiple; bricks and mortar and online – you all need to claim back your Covid costs,” Dukes wrote in his PSNC blog.

“Costs that were incurred by community pharmacy contractors, their pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, dispensers, counter staff, drivers and the wider teams. Costs that were spent on keeping the doors open under unprecedented pandemic conditions to serve the millions of (often worried and frightened) patients who needed medicines, wider pharmaceutical services, and advice on the pandemic,” he added.

As per PSNC estimates, the sector’s total Covid cost for the financial year 2020-21 totalled about £450 million.

Dukes called it a decent offer from the Treasury and the Department of Health and Social Care, under which contractors can claim full 13 months’ cost between 1 March 2020 and 30 March 2021.

The earlier proposal from the government involved reimbursement for just the three months to May 2020, with a maximum claims limit of £120m.

Also, the Treasury then wanted its £370m loan paid back.

In the latest agreement, there no restrictions on the types of costs to be claimed, he said.

Besides, owner of more than one pharmacy can submit one claim for all the premises.

He acknowledged a huge cross-sector effort that was mobilised to reach this deal with the government.

“LPCs lobbying their MPs; our colleagues at the NPA, CCA and AIMp shouting loudly in the media and elsewhere about the unfairness of treatment of our sector; and PSNC talking to Minsters, and officials who were working hard behind the scenes influencing HM Treasury on our behalf. It all had an effect,” he said.

“…community pharmacy finances are squeezed enough, don’t subsidise HM Treasury any further by letting them off the hook on your Covid costs,” Dukes wrote.

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