Mark Bather, Managing Director of Rowlands Pharmacy, said…
“The current pharmacy contract in England is not fit-for-purpose and does not provide the level of funding which the sector requires. That has an impact on us and Independent pharmacies.
In Scotland and Wales, the Governments are keen to expand and support financially the role of community pharmacy as the third pillar of healthcare access alongside GP surgeries and A&E departments.
We hope the Government in England will now consider investing in community pharmacy given our on-going frontline role in fighting COVID-19 and providing access to essential healthcare advice and services beyond dispensing.
In England, we now need to align our opening hours to reflect what the NHS has asked contractually us to provide and is prepared to fund. We need to ensure every branch has the skills mix it needs to provide outstanding pharmaceutical care and advice to the local communities they serve.
That will involve changes to current ways of working and we are discussing with each and every colleague what this could mean for them and their branch. Proposed changes to opening hours take effect from February next year.
Through centralised dispensing and other initiatives we have already made great steps forward in making our business more efficient and better able to deliver even more patient services – we are doing our bit – but Government investment to sustain the sector is urgently required”.