NHS England is phasing out the top-up funding it offers at a national level for pharmacies that are more than 1km away from other pharmacies and have low prescription volumes. The funding will stop by the end of March. Pharmacists who benefit from the Essential Small Pharmacies Local Pharmaceutical Services (ESPLPS) scheme have been told to make their pharmacies more profitable. Some NHS England Area Teams, however, are continuing with the scheme and those Area Teams are deciding where top-up support is necessary.

Paul Gershlick, a Partner and Head of Life Sciences & Healthcare at Matthew Arnold & Baldwin LLP, comments: “I am aware of one such community pharmacy that is concerned about its viability if it loses its top-up funding. This is an area of major concern in that community as it is the only pharmacy within easy access for the local elderly or infirm population. The pharmacy is about more than just dispensing. It provides other invaluable services for the community.”

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