Negotiation Updates

Published on: 30th March 2021 | Updated on: 15th May 2024

Community Pharmacy England negotiates the elements of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England. These negotiations include reaching agreement on matters relating to pharmacy funding, regulations and services.

Below is an index of negotiation updates we have published. Additionally, please visit our blog for regular updates from our CEO, Committee Members and Policy Team in the form of written articles and videos.

2023 updates

7th December – Community Pharmacy England briefs new Pharmacy Minister
Our CEO meets with the new Pharmacy Minister, raising a range of critical topics, including Pharmacy First, funding and other pressures on community pharmacies, the future of pharmacy services, and IT/digital interfaces.

5th December – 30+ MPs attend Community Pharmacy England’s winter pressures event
We briefed 34 MPs on how winter pressures are impacting on pharmacies at a drop-in event at the Houses of Parliament.

1st December – Committee negotiating asks discussions informed by pharmacy owners at November Meeting
Our Committee discusses the implementation of Pharmacy First and their core asks for the future CPCF at their November meeting.

16th November – Pharmacy First service and other changes agreed as Recovery Plan negotiations conclude
We reached agreement with Government and the NHS on the launch of a new national Pharmacy First service as well as other changes to pharmacy funding and services.

6th November – Primary Care Access Recovery Plan negotiations
Our CEO issues a short statement on the Recovery Plan and future CPCF negotiations.

19th October – Pharmacy Show and LPC Conference hear funding latest
Our CEO gives updates at the Pharmacy Show and the annual LPC Conference, addressing the current emergency situation in pharmacies.

28th September – Committee strategy discussions informed by pharmacy owners
Our Committee discusses responses to the Primary Care Access Recovery Plan negotiations, and preparations for the next CPCF negotiations at their September meeting.

4th September – Chief Executive’s Blog: September 2023
Our CEO issues a blog describing how we remain totally focussed on making life easier for pharmacy businesses, fighting hard to get around some of the many obstacles and continuing our influencing work.

19th July – Committee hears directly from pharmacy owners and LPCs at July Meeting
Our Committee considers pharmacy pressures and the ongoing Primary Care Access Plan negotiations, with valuable input from sector polls and LPC leaders, at their July meeting.

3rd July – Our CEO updates on the negotiations
Our CEO releases a statement explaining that the negotiating process remains on track as we’re presently working at pace with key stakeholders from the NHS and DHSC.

9th June – MPs and Peers keep spotlight on pharmacy
MPs and Peers continue to discuss community pharmacy matters in Westminster, with pharmacy to be the subject of a new inquiry by cross-party MPs.

30th May – Watch a recording of our recent funding and negotiations update
A recording of a webinar for community pharmacy owners about the Government’s Primary Care Access Plan.

12th May – DHSC and NHS England contractor letter published
DHSC and NHS England publish a letter to community pharmacy owners updating them on the CPCF arrangements.

9th May – Government pledges £645m investment in community pharmacy
Government and NHS promise a £645m investment in community pharmacies over the next two years to support a common conditions service, along with the Pharmacy Contraception and Hypertension Case-Finding services.

27th April – CPCF 2023/24 and Regulations: Imposed changes
DHSC lay regulations affecting community pharmacy contractors as well as indicating the Government’s decisions on the CPCF for 2023/24.

13th April – NHSE announces contraception service launch
NHS England announces the Pharmacy Contraception Service will launch from 24th April 2023. This start date for the service has not been agreed with Community Pharmacy England.

15th March – Budget brings VAT changes but no wider relief for community pharmacy
The Chancellor unveils his Spring Budget, including within it two VAT changes related to community pharmacy services, which we had been pressing for over several years and was a focus within our CPCF negotiations.

13th March – Year 5 CPCF services cannot go ahead without funding uplift
Community Pharmacy England tells Ministers that NHS England and DHSC must not roll out any new or expanded services or a Pharmacy Quality Scheme in 2023/24 unless extra funding is put into community pharmacies.

17th February – Pharmacy Funding Crisis: Community Pharmacy England Update
At its February meeting, our Committee considers the urgent funding and capacity crisis, as well as proposals from DHSC and NHS England on price concessions reform and relief measures to ease pressure on pharmacies.

23rd January – DHSC to remove Transitional Payments from February
DHSC decides to reduce the Transitional Payment to zero from February 2023. Our Negotiating Team refuses to accept this as any reductions in payments will be impossible for pharmacy contractors to manage financially.

18th January – Community pharmacy bodies launch joint influencing campaign
Leading national pharmacy bodies agree to work together on a programme of activities to lobby for fair NHS funding for pharmacies in England, including co-ordinating efforts to mobilise public support.

2022 updates

23rd December – Pharmacy leaders join forces to write to the Secretary of State
Community Pharmacy England and the other community pharmacy national representative bodies, along with the four largest pharmacy chains in England, wrote to the Secretary of State for Health, Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, warning that the sector needs urgent investment.

1st December – Protecting Pharmacy Funding: A video update from Community Pharmacy England’s CEO
Community Pharmacy England Chief Executive Janet Morrison releases a video update for community pharmacy contractors following Community Pharmacy England’s November Committee meeting.

14th November – Community Pharmacy England launches new political influencing campaign
Community Pharmacy England launches a new influencing campaign to build wider political support for community pharmacies and ensure that MPs and Peers across Parliament understand the risks to pharmacy services that the current pressures on the sector are causing.

3rd November – Community Pharmacy England CEO briefs MPs on sector challenges and opportunities
Community Pharmacy England Chief Executive Janet Morrison OBE takes part in a briefing session of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Pharmacy, in Westminster Hall.

22nd September – CPCF arrangements for 2022/23 and 2023/24 agreed
Community Pharmacy England, DHSC and NHS England agree arrangements for Years 4 and 5 of the CPCF. Whilst in line with the five-year CPCF deal, it includes an extension of the Transitional Payment to recognise ongoing pressures and a one-off £100 million excess margin write-off for contractors.

4th August – CPCF Negotiations Update
Community Pharmacy England issues an update explaining that whilst a deal has been agreed for Year 4, changes in Government Ministers have delayed the usual sign-off process.

6th July – MPs raise concerns about the future of pharmacies
Community Pharmacy England co-hosts a Future of Pharmacy event in Westminster to highlight the significant contribution of pharmacies to the health of the nation and their potential to do more to address ongoing healthcare challenges.

26th June – Pharmacies in England provide 65 million consultations a year
Community Pharmacy England’s 2022 Pharmacy Advice Audit finds more than 1.2 million consultations a week – or 65 million a year – are now being carried out by community pharmacy teams in England.

22nd June – MPs call out unsustainable pressures on pharmacies
MPs from across the political spectrum call for increased funding for community pharmacy. This follows work by Community Pharmacy England and LPCs to brief Parliamentarians on the financial pressures facing the sector.

5th May – Pharmacy rebalancing orders: Governance changes taken forward
DHSC publishes plans to amend current pharmacy legislation on dispensing errors and clarify how registered pharmacies are governed.

25th April – Pharmacy Pressures Survey confirms impact on teams, businesses and patients
Community Pharmacy England’s Pharmacy Pressures Survey confirms that the unsustainable pressures on community pharmacies are having a serious impact on pharmacy teams’ wellbeing, affecting patient services negatively, and putting businesses at risk.

5th April – Extension to Hep C testing service agreed
NHSE&I, DHSC and Community Pharmacy England agree that the Community Pharmacy Hepatitis C Antibody Testing Service (Advanced service) should continue to be commissioned for a further year.

25th February – Negotiations on CPCF arrangements for 2022/23 commence
Formal tripartite negotiations begin on the arrangements for the CPCF in 2022/23 – the fourth year of the agreed five-year CPCF deal.

28th January – First Annual Review of CPCF paves way for year 4 negotiations
The first Annual Review of the progress of the five-year CPCF deal concludes. The review involved some very robust discussions: some significant differences in opinion emerged, but there were also areas of alignment.

2021 updates

15th December – Contractor Update: PQS deadline extension and further measures
Community Pharmacy England reaches agreement with NHSE&I and DHSC on a number of measures to help ease the immediate pressures on community pharmacies, including an extension to the deadline for meeting the requirements of the Pharmacy Quality Scheme.

6th December – Community Pharmacy England Planning Meeting: Renewed evidence drive and Year 4 negotiations
Community Pharmacy England meets to both consider the ongoing pressures facing the community pharmacy sector and to plan for upcoming negotiations which will set the arrangements for the CPCF in 2022/23 – Year 4 of the five-year CPCF deal.

3rd December – Community Pharmacy England urges Government to support all pharmacies through COVID-19 booster push
Community Pharmacy England warns HM Government and the NHS of the need to provide further support for all community pharmacies as we head into what will be an extremely challenging winter period.

30th November – High level talks under way on community pharmacy workforce shortage
The chief executives of the national community pharmacy bodies in England meet with senior NHSE&I officials to discuss the current limited availability of pharmacists for community pharmacy roles.

21st September – COVID-19 Cost Claims: DHSC sets out arrangements for payment
The arrangements for payment of contractors’ COVID-19 cost claims in October are finalised. All contractors that made a claim during the summer claiming window, even those identified as needing pre-payment verification, will receive a payment at the start of October.

26th August – Early advance payments for all contractors following an end to PEPS
From November 2021, all community pharmacy contractors will have the chance to receive earlier advance payments, following agreement between Community Pharmacy England and DHSC. The agreement came as part of discussions on the Pharmacy Earlier Payment Scheme (PEPS), which DHSC decided to end following the collapse of Greensill Capital.

23rd August – CPCF arrangements for 2021/22 agreed
Arrangements for the CPCF in 2021/22 are agreed between Community Pharmacy England, NHSE&I and DHSC, in line with the five-year CPCF deal.

12th August – New Pharmacy Quality Scheme for 2021/22 announced
Community Pharmacy England, DHSC and NHSE&I agree the arrangements for the 2021/22 Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS), with a focus on priorities supporting recovery from COVID-19.

28th June – COVID-19 costs deal reached
Community Pharmacy England accepts a revised, and much improved, HM Government offer on COVID costs. Under the agreed deal, contractors will receive payments for their COVID costs on 1st October, following a claiming period between 5th July and 15th August 2021.

24th May – Community Pharmacy England and MPs continue to press on C-19 loans and sustainable funding
Community Pharmacy England continues to work to highlight the value that community pharmacies have delivered throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for sustainable funding for the sector.

18th May – May video update from Community Pharmacy England’s CEO
Community Pharmacy England Chief Executive Simon Dukes addresses the situation that community pharmacy currently finds itself in – awaiting a decision from HM Treasury on the costs the sector incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

5th May – Community Pharmacy England CEO issues new blog
Community Pharmacy England Chief Executive Simon Dukes sets out his expectations on negotiations for Year Three of the Five-Year CPCF, highlighting the key issues that the Committee with face.

28th April – Negotiations on CPCF arrangements for 2021/22 commence
Formal tripartite negotiations on the arrangements for the CPCF in 2021/22 begin.

5th March – Briefing MPs on COVID-19 costs
Community Pharmacy England briefs Parliamentarians to update them on the funding situation for pharmacies, asking them to call on HM Government to cover contractors’ COVID-19 costs.

3rd March – Community Pharmacy England calls on Chancellor to write off pharmacies’ COVID loans
Ahead of the Budget, Community Pharmacy England writes to the Chancellor of the Exchequer asking him to intervene in the ongoing COVID-19 funding negotiations and ensure that pharmacies do not have to pay back any of the £370m in emergency loans they received last year.

9th February – Update on Community Pharmacy England Funding Negotiations
Ahead of further rounds of Ministerial meetings, Community Pharmacy England once again underlines its position that community pharmacy contractors must be compensated for the full impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their businesses, and warned of the impact on patient services if this does not happen.

2020 updates

9th December – Funding Negotiations Update: Video message from Community Pharmacy England CEO
Community Pharmacy England Chief Executive Simon Dukes releases a new video message for pharmacy teams explaining the current situation regarding community pharmacy funding negotiations. In the video, Simon outlines Community Pharmacy England’s two-pronged approach to money – to cover all COVID-related costs and a bid for an uplift to the annual contract sum – both of which require urgent resolution.

26th November – Community Pharmacy England seeks to address workload pressures during second wave
Community Pharmacy England publishes an update on the action points that we have been discussing with the NHS and Government to address contractor workload and staffing pressures during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the action points have been in discussion for many weeks and, yet, as we saw in the first wave of COVID-19, decision-making remains slower than we would like.

13th November – COVID-19 Cost Negotiations Update: Community Pharmacy England rejects initial offer and makes counter-proposal
Community Pharmacy England restates its position that community pharmacy contractors must be compensated for the full impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their businesses. Community Pharmacy England says it has rejected an initial funding offer as too limited and put a counter-proposal to DHSC, asking for the £370m in advance payments to be written off.

26th August – Community Pharmacy England Negotiations and CPCF Services Update
Community Pharmacy England publishes an update on its ongoing negotiations related to funding and services. In particular, Community Pharmacy England has made a case to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care, for an urgent uplift to the agreed CPCF funding.

21st August – Community Pharmacy England asks contractors to reconsider free provision of non-CPCF services
Community Pharmacy England CEO Simon Dukes has called on community pharmacy contractors to stop the free of charge provision of services that fall clearly outside the CPCF. 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.

20th and 21st May – May Community Pharmacy England meeting
The Community Pharmacy England Committee holds detailed discussions on which activities community pharmacies should stop, start or continue to do in the current and coming environment. Immediate priorities such as the NHS Flu Vaccination Service were considered as well as the role that pharmacies could play in future COVID-19 services such as testing.

15th May – Community Pharmacy England CEO video message
Community Pharmacy England Chief Executive Simon Dukes confirms that negotiations on additional funding for the sector are ongoing, and describes how discussions with DHSC and NHSE&I are now also turning to the expected next phases of the pandemic in the UK.

15th April – COVID-19 webinar for pharmacy contractors
A new webinar explains how Community Pharmacy England is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, including working with others and negotiating for additional funding for the sector. Click the link to watch the on-demand version.

31st March – Community Pharmacy England CEO video message
Community Pharmacy England Chief Executive Simon Dukes reacts to the £300 million of advance funding agreed by Ministers in recognition of the significant cashflow pressures facing the sector at this point in the COVID-19 pandemic.

27th March – Community Pharmacy England Briefing 016/20: COVID-19 Response – Community Pharmacy England Negotiations Action List
A new briefing lists the possible action points that Community Pharmacy England is in urgent negotiations with the NHS and Government about. We will update contractors on these points as and when decisions are reached.

23rd March – Community Pharmacy England CEO video message
Community Pharmacy England Chief Executive Simon Dukes releases a video message for community pharmacy teams to explain the work that he and his team are doing on behalf of the sector.

23rd February – Contractor Announcement: CPCF Negotiations Progress Update and Arrangements for 2020/21
The arrangements for the CPCF in 2020/21 agreed between Community Pharmacy England, NHSE&I and DHSC were announced.


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