Parliamentary Committees and Public Enquiries
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MPs hear that community pharmacy funding model is ‘broken’

Government must urgently reform the funding framework for community pharmacy if more clinical services are to be delivered and increasing demands for medication are to be met.

The Committee’s report finds the current Community Pharmacy Funding Framework not fit for purpose and urges an overhaul to reduce its complexity. A new framework is necessary to deliver adequate funding and prevent damaging cross-subsidy between clinical services and prescription dispensing as is currently the case. Reductions in core funding to community services of 30% since 2015 equates to an annual shortfall, per pharmacy, of between £67,000 and £100,000. Meanwhile, 1,100 pharmacies have closed in that time, more than a third of which were serving the most deprived areas.

MPs call for government to address medicine shortages which, they warn, risk undermining flagship initiatives such as ‘Pharmacy First’ by eroding public confidence in pharmacists. The report calls for an independent review of the medicines supply chain to identify the weak links and to determine how the UK’s response to shortages can be improved. Among solutions already recommended is regulatory change to allow pharmacists to dispense alternatives without sending patients back to GPs for new paperwork.

The report concludes that community pharmacy has vast amounts of untapped potential and additional services could be delivered within community pharmacy settings. It urges government and NHS England to set an explicit expectation that community pharmacies offer additional services, for example access to HIV prevention medication and all routine and seasonal immunisation for adults and children.

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