NHS England is responsible for commissioning NHS primary care services in England, including community pharmacy services. Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are free to commission further services from community pharmacies over and above those commissioned by NHS England, and local authorities are also able to commission public health services from pharmacies. The majority of NHS income for community pharmacies in England comes from payment from NHS England, through the NHS pharmaceutical services contract. The NHS England funding settlement for 2015/16 was £2.8 billion.

On 20 October 2016 the Government announced that funding for NHS contractors providing services under the community pharmacy contractual framework will be:

  • £2.687 billion in 2016/17
  • £2.592 billion in 2017/18

This represents a 4% reduction in funding in 2016/17 and a further 3.4% reduction in 2017/18.

The announcement also confirmed plans for changes to the way funding is distributed: 

  • Establishment payments will be phased out, and a range of dispensing fees will be amalgamated into a single activity fee.
  • A Pharmacy Access Scheme to support services in isolated areas. The Government has published a list of 1,341 pharmacies that will receive access payments.
  • A £75 million Quality Payment Scheme will award pharmacies extra funding based on how well they perform against criteria set out by the Government. The criteria are set out on p.11 of the Community pharmacy in 2016/16 and beyond: Final Package published by the Department for Health.
  • A Pharmacy Integration Fund to support closer working with other parts of the NHS. The fund will provide £42 million in addition to the 2016-2018 funding set out above.

The changes take effect from 1 December 2016. The Government has argued that the cuts are necessary as part of wider efficiency savings being made across the NHS. Health Minister David Mowat has stated that the new funding package will lead to better value for money in pharmaceutical services, while ensuring that everybody retains ready access to a community pharmacy. Industry groups and the Opposition have been critical of the cuts, arguing that the cuts will lead to closures of community pharmacies, and that the Pharmacy Access Scheme will not protect pharmacies in the most deprived communities.

The downloadable data file below includes a list of pharmacies in each English parliamentary constituency, along with a summary of which are expected to be eligible for the pharmacy access scheme.

For MPs and their staff, Library researchers can provide maps of pharmacies by local area like the one featured below. Please get in touch to find out more.

PhAS map

 

Related posts

  • Social prescribing is a means for GPs and other healthcare professionals to refer patients to non-clinical services in the local community. Such services can include arts or nature-based activities, physical activity classes and counselling. Evaluations of existing social prescribing schemes have reported positive impacts on people’s mental health and wellbeing and a reduction in demand on health services.

  • This Commons Library briefing paper provides an overview of testing for Covid-19 in England. It covers the different types of test that are in use and in development, as well as testing capacity, the criteria for being tested, and the presentation of testing data.