In June 2020, the Department of Health confirmed the opening funding allocation for community pharmacy services, with an increase to £112.4m recurrently, an substantial uplift from the £104m envelope established in 2018/19. A further bid for inflationary price increases has yet to be decided upon and HSCB will correspond in due course when this has been confirmed.
With the need to stabilise and configure community pharmacy services appropriately, DoH and HSCB made the following financial provisions in March/April:
- £4m initial funding in March 2020
- £35m Special Advance which will be in place until March 2021 after which, this funding will be withdrawn over a period of 2 years
- £7.5m funding in April 2020 related to service pressures, developments and reconfigurations
A further additional £13.25m has been committed for the remainder of the year linked to the community pharmacy services commissioning plan for 2020/21.
This funding will allow the community pharmacy network to develop and sustain services, building upon its vital frontline role. It signals a move forward for community pharmacy as a key service in the new post-COVID health and social care system supporting service provision to patients. There is a clear recognition of the critical role of the sector, not only in the safe supply of medicines, but as the fabric which holds local communities together in times of crisis.
As service areas are specified and 20/21 funding arrangements agreed, further details will be provided.
Links to relevant services and funding information for this and previous years can be accessed below.