2022 Spring Statement: Financial concerns remain for pharmacies

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has today delivered his Spring Statement to Parliament, against a backdrop of rises in the cost of living, including unprecedented fuel and energy price increases.

The Statement focussed primarily on helping people and tax plans, and as is usually the case, there was no specific mention of community pharmacy.

The key announcement for healthcare was confirmation that the new Health and Social Care Levy (to be raised via an increase in National Insurance) will go ahead. This will fund increases in healthcare spending in England, but the Chancellor gave no further information about how or where that Levy will be distributed.

PSNC remains very concerned about the chronic underfunding of community pharmacy, including the imminent loss in income from the winding down of some of the COVID-related services. This underfunding is a key focus for PSNC in the ongoing Year 4 CPCF negotiations, in which we have made another bid for a funding uplift for the sector.

The five-year CPCF and associated flat funding was always expected to be challenging, but COVID and other economic factors are now putting unreasonable and unsustainable pressures on pharmacy businesses. PSNC is seeking a funding uplift to correct the significant shortfall in funds for the sector – this would leave pharmacies better placed to support the NHS and avoid serious knock-on effects for the communities that they serve.

Responding to the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, PSNC Chief Executive Janet Morrison said:

“Community pharmacy owners, and all who work for them, are under an enormous amount of pressure at the moment. They will rightly feel that they are being taken for granted, and they will be disappointed that once again they warranted no mention in the Chancellor’s statement. PSNC’s position is clear: current funding levels are not sufficient for pharmacies to do all that is now being asked of them, and this needs to be rectified if Government and the NHS want to continue to rely on this valuable network of healthcare providers. Pharmacy owners have made astonishing efficiencies over the past few years, but they now need to be treated like the valuable NHS colleagues that they are and given help to meet spiralling costs and to manage inflationary pressures. We are making all of these points – backed up by a wealth of evidence and analysis – to DHSC and NHSE&I as part of the Year 4 CPCF negotiations in which we are seeking a funding uplift for the sector.”

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