The stop-gap funding solution provided by NHS England for small pharmacies deemed “essential” does not guarantee their long-term survival and is inadequate, according to the National Pharmacy Association, a body representing many community pharmacies in the country. Most of the 102 pharmacies affected have only received funding for one or two years after the previous scheme ended in March 2015. Many have had to be in limbo without any real certainty over their futures, as NHS England took an “unacceptable” amount of time to deal with the issue following the ending of the old funding scheme in March. Quite a lot would have to close if NHS England did not extend their top-up funding beyond that, Gareth Jones of the NPA has warned.
Mr Jones said: “What they’ve done is kicked the problem a bit further down the road. Business owners just don’t know what will happen after that one or two years.”
Graham Phillips, of Elstree-based Manor Pharmacy, which is one of the pharmacies affected, said NHS England was trying to have its cake and eat it and tried to “fit a square peg into a round hole” by wanting the business to do extra work such as achieving healthy living pharmacy status for the same level of funding as previously. He argued that incurring extra cost should involve additional payment.