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, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) study commissioned by PSNC.
The survey reveals that community pharmacies deliver substantially more in benefits than they receive in compensation, providing excellent value to the Department of Health.
The study which followed 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.
The expected amount of public sector spending saved directly as a result of the 12 services analysed in the report is enough, by itself, to offset the entire amount of public funding provided for community pharmacy in 2015. The benefits of all other pharmacy services not covered by the analysis, such as the NHS prescription service, can therefore be seen as additional net benefits of community pharmacy.
The report demonstrates the value of community pharmacy at a crucial time and PwC concludes that it is important to robustly assess the significance of any proposed changes to the support and delivery of these services.
Read the full report here