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Jan 2020
Business Support
John Ince
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Dear Member,

This is our April edition of the AIM Newsletter and yet again the biggest topic dominating is unfortunately the situation with COVID-19. We are concerned about the current pressure that the pharmacy teams are facing, and we would like to reassure you that we are raising these issues at every level and via every channel possible.

Whilst we have played a big role as an organisation, working with others, to boost the profile of pharmacy during this crisis, there is still a lot to do and there are barriers that we need to overcome.
We continue to lobby at every level possible nationally and via our representatives on LPCs locally – we also encourage all our members to write to their local MPs. The more MPs discuss the topic of pharmacy and the challenge that our members are facing the better.

This newsletter covers:
• The funding around COVID-19
• Additional COVID-19 costs to pharmacies (please fill in the questionnaire in spreadsheet and return to me by end of Wednesday this week)
• Easter break
• Deliveries
• Pharmacy practice matters

Funding in brief

As part of negotiations with PSNC, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has agreed a total of £300 million of advance funding into community pharmacies over the next two months. This is a temporary cash injection into community pharmacies that will have to be paid back at some point in the future. It will be paid as ‘uplifts’ to contractors’ January and February payments which are payable in early April and May. The two injections will be worth £200 million on 1st April 2020 (or soon after) and £100 million at the end of April/early May.

Separately, and not as part of negotiations with PSNC, the DHSC and NHS England have agreed to pay contractors £300 payment for installing screens – this will automatically be paid at the end of April and does not need to be claimed. This fee is outside of the global sum.

Please see below AIM statement regarding the funding:

“Whilst it is good to see some cash injection into this severely cash-starved sector, the delayed English pharmacy funding announcement does not allow for sufficient funding and will have a catastrophic effect on many pharmacies, not just financially, but by also having a deeply negative effect on the morale of all pharmacy staff.

We all know the partial closure of GPs and hospital services has put pharmacy in the front line of primary care in England and we have done everything asked of us, and more, by being there to deal with worried patients and members of the public and relieve pressure on GP’s and hospitals. This is despite staff shortages of self-isolation running at up to 15% and massively increased locum costs. Many staff have worked many extra hours before and after normal opening hours to keep community pharmacies functioning.

Unfortunately, this huge shock of not only continued under-funding, but also the increased operating costs that are directly due to our front-line role in supporting the Governments efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic, is a harsh message to hard working community pharmacies in England. Many businesses that were already losing money will now have to re-consider closure. With some branches currently temporarily closed due to staff shortages possibly not re-opening, that will put vulnerable communities at risk of not getting the pharmaceutical care they need.

In addition, pharmacy teams are putting their own health at risk looking after patients in communities without appropriate PPE. Despite the sector asking for this, it has not been forthcoming.

In a letter to Primary Care Executives on 17 March, Simon Steven highlighted that there will be funding “to cover your extra costs of responding to the coronavirus emergency” and that ”financial constraints must not and will not stand in the way of taking immediate and necessary action.” We, therefore, appeal for fairness, understanding and support from those in the position of power to allow this sector to continue caring for patients by urgently addressing these issues.”

It is important to note that further negotiations are taking place to cover the costs that contractors have occurred as part of preparations for COVID-19. As you can see in the AIM statement, we have referred to Simon Stevens letter to Primary Care CEOs telling them that there are no financial barriers standing in the way taking immediate and necessary action against COVID-19.

I have included attached a list of questions that we are currently seeking answers to in order to ensure these are passed on to PSNC to further negotiate with DHSC. I would be grateful if you could please fill in and return by the deadline on Wednesday 8th April.

I have queries with PSNC regarding the time period for this fee to be negotiated. We have highlighted the importance of extra cash for the sector not to be delayed and PSNC are hoping that this will be available by end of April.

AIMP Ltd is registered in England under No. 4613543 and VAT registration No. 864 2056 27. The registered office is at Leedale House, Railway Court, Doncaster, DN4 5FB
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