Prime Minister promises to reimburse COVID-19 costs of community pharmacy “as soon as possible”

Community pharmacies should be reimbursed for their additional costs during the COVID-19 pandemic “as soon as possible”, the prime minister said Pharmaceutical journal.

Boris Johnson has also said he does not want to see any drugstores closed because they “play a vital role” in the fight against the pandemic.

The Prime Minister’s comments came in response to a question from Nigel Praities, editor-in-chief of Pharmaceutical journal, during the daily government briefing on the coronavirus on February 10, 2021.

The question asked for a timeline for when the government plans to reimburse pharmacies for their additional costs during the pandemic, and how many pharmacies it is happy to see closed before doing anything about it.

“I don’t want to see any pharmacy close. I think community pharmacies are an absolutely exceptional resource for our country and its health care needs, ”said Johnson, adding that he was“ especially grateful to pharmacies now for what they are doing as part of this. the vaccination effort ”.

“It’s a great environment to do a lot of good things to protect the public, so when it comes to reimbursement, I want to make sure they are reimbursed as soon as possible,” he continued.

“They play a vital role in helping us fight the pandemic and many other public health needs. “

His comments follow an investigation by Pharmaceutical journal revealed in January 2021 that four pharmacies were closing each week in 2020 due to financial pressures exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government had responded to initial requests for additional funds in 2020 by providing a £ 370million loan to the pharmacy sector, which the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said should now be canceled.

PSNC chief executive Simon Dukes said the negotiator had discussions about funding with ministers the day Johnson made his comments.

“It was encouraging to hear the Prime Minister pledge to reimburse COVID-19 costs for community pharmacies last night,” he said.

“Negotiations on the costs of COVID-19 are ongoing, and at the heart of them is the question of the magnitude of these costs: it is the difficult discussion we have with Her Majesty’s Treasury and the Ministry. of Health and Social Affairs. We will continue to highlight ministers’ support for the sector in our discussions, but the very positive words from politicians must now lead to the funding results we need.

Claire Anderson, Chair of the English Pharmacy Board of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said that “the Prime Minister’s recognition of funding issues and the need for community pharmacies to be fully reimbursed for the additional costs they have faced throughout the pandemic is very pleasant to hear ”.

“We now want the government to follow through on this with a pledge of new money that many community pharmacies need to access as soon as possible,” she added.

Leyla Hannbeck, managing director of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, said she was “disappointed that the issue over the £ 370million loan has ever reached the top of the chain to reach the Prime Minister, but j ‘Now hope she has come to her opinion, we hope that those in charge will make a decision and that it will reflect the confidence and commitment that pharmacies have made over the last year.

Andrew Lane, chairman of the National Pharmacy Association, added that the Prime Minister “must now be kept to this promise because the government and NHS England have hesitated too long on this issue”.

“It is high time they did the right thing with our hard working pharmacy teams,” he added. “The Prime Minister says he doesn’t want pharmacies to close. So, is he now ready to bang his head on the Treasury and NHS England to stop the network’s tragic decline?

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs confirmed that funding negotiations were underway.

“During this unprecedented pandemic, £ 370million has been made available in advance payments to help pharmacies maintain drug supplies and provide health advice,” they said.

“Additional funding, for costs incurred during the pandemic, is being discussed with the industry. ”

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