UK cuts likely delayed, not cancelled

scissors cutting british pounds

UK funding reprieve is probably only a delay, says Minister

Only days after telling the Royal Pharmaceutical Society conference that planned £170 million cuts to the UK’s pharmacy sector would not be implemented from next month as planned, the UK’s new pharmacy minister has warned that the sector will still see its fair share of cost savings.

Chemist + Druggist reports that at a Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee event yesterday, David Mowat told pharmacists that the sector is still likely to take on its share of £20 billion in savings planned across the NHS.

While the government is “looking at” the issue of cuts to pharmacy, “it is also true – and there is no getting away from this – that over the next few years in the NHS there is a need for something like £20bn worth of productivity savings.

“And that will need to be shared across all parts of the healthcare community.”

The PSNC event was to launch a PricewaterhouseCoopers report that found that community pharmacies contributed a net value of £3 billion to the NHS, public sector, patients and wider society in England in 2015 through just 12 services.

This means that community pharmacies deliver substantially more in benefits than they receive in compensation, says PSNC.

The study, which was commissioned by PSNC following the Government’s proposals to reduce community pharmacy funding, analysed the value to the NHS, public sector organisations, patients and wider society of 12 services across public health, self-care support and medicines support.

Services analysed included supervised consumption, emergency hormonal contraception provision, minor ailments, delivering prescriptions and managing drug shortages. Pharmacies made more than 150 million interventions through the services in 2015 and there was a benefit of more than £250,000 per pharmacy or £54.61 for every resident of England.

Breaking the combined contribution down into the areas which are benefitting, it was found that:

  • the NHS received a net value of £1,352 million, including cash savings as a result of cost efficiencies, and avoided NHS treatment costs;
  • other public sector bodies (e.g. local authorities) and wider society together received over £1 billion through increased output, avoided deaths and reduced pressure on other services such as social care and justice; and
  • patients received around £600 million, mainly in the form of reduced travel time to alternative NHS settings.

The report concludes that from these services alone, community pharmacy contributed an in-year benefit of £3 billion in 2015, with a further £1.9 billion expected to accrue over the next 20 years.

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