Gov’t plans £645m investment in pharmacy

The UK Government and NHS have announced an investment of £645m in community pharmacies over the next two years to fund a range of new pharmacy services. The investment will support the creation of a pharmacy common conditions service, the NHS Pharmacy Contraception service and the NHS Hypertension Case-Finding service. The common conditions service will allow patients to obtain prescription medication for seven common ailments directly from a pharmacy.

This investment represents a significant funding boost for community pharmacies and follows several months of sustained campaigning by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC). The PSNC had lobbied for a fully-funded Pharmacy First service earlier this year. The new investment was announced as part of a Government and NHS blueprint for improving access to primary care.

Pharmacies are increasingly viewed as a first port of call for members of the public seeking medical advice. The NHS Pharmacy Contraception service is expected to be used by almost 500,000 women, while the NHS Hypertension Case-Finding service will provide blood pressure checks for 2.5 million people.

Details of the new services and funding allocations will be subject to negotiation between the PSNC, the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England. PSNC’s Negotiating Team, comprising independent contractors, representatives of large multiples and an AIM contractor, will lead these discussions for the sector. PSNC will also focus on the long-term sustainability of pharmacy businesses and work towards laying the groundwork for future CPCF negotiations.

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