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NPA to assess impact of flat funding on pharmacy and patients

NPA: Assessment will examine if the current funding model can “sustain new pharmacy services”
NPA: Assessment will examine if the current funding model can “sustain new pharmacy services”

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has commissioned a study into the impact of the five-year funding contract on community pharmacy in England.

As part of the impact assessment, industry stakeholders will be consulted and there will also be a “comprehensive survey” of NPA members to ”consider how far restricted funding and the broader economic environment may impact on efforts to achieve NHS objectives.”

The assessment, carried out by consultancy firm EY, will look at the effects of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework on the sector.

In August last year, it was announced that community pharmacy in England would receive £2.592 billion a year over a five-year period.

An NPA spokesperson told C+D that the assessment will examine the financial situation across the sector, looking at “all pharmacy types and sizes”.

It will also look at the effects of the framework’s flat funding structure on patients and communities. The assessment will “highlight if certain sections of the community could be particularly badly affected if resources fail to keep up with need”, the spokesperson added. 

“Telling evidence” about capacity

The findings will be made available to other stakeholders, including the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, the government and NHS England, and will be completed by June – ahead of the first annual review of the funding settlement.

“It will help them understand the implications of current healthcare policy for the resources required at pharmacy level,” the spokesperson said.

“In particular, they will have fresh information about whether the current level of funding can sustain new pharmacy services and meet NHS objectives, like reducing GP waiting times and improving access to preventative care,” they added. 

It “expects to receive telling evidence about the capacity of the pharmacy sector to deliver on NHS objectives in the context of current flat funding”, the NPA said in a statement issued on Tuesday (February 18).

Speaking at the Sigma conference in Cebu, the Philippines on Tuesday, acting NPA chariman Andrew Lane said: “Ministers and NHS officials say they want community pharmacies to be the first port of call for common illnesses, to help people stay well, to take on more clinical services and to relieve pressure on other parts of the system.

“This can only be achieved on a sustainable basis if resources match the level of ambition. Therefore, we hope they will welcome this economic study as a serious contribution to the evidence base that underpins the development of health and social care policy.”

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