Community pharmacies are receiving a £300 million cash boost to ensure they can continue to carry out essential services during the coronavirus outbreak.
The funding injection will support pharmacies across England, including those in North Herefordshire and will help them to provide critical services to protect community health, including supplying medicines and providing medical advice to patients, during a period of unprecedented demand.
£200 million was paid on 1 April to pharmacy contractors, alongside their normal monthly payments from the NHS Business Services Authority, and a further £100 million will be allocated on 1 May 2020.
In addition to this funding, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has reduced the number of services that community pharmacies are required to deliver to allow them to prioritise the most important tasks, but they will continue to receive their full NHS funding.
During this period, pharmacies will not be required to pilot new services or carry out non-critical administrative tasks. DHSC is also working to increase the workforce capacity and flexibility, with calls to those pharmacy professionals who have recently left professional registers to return.
Welcoming this cash boost, Bill Wiggin, the Member of Parliament for North Herefordshire said: “Coronavirus has placed an enormous pressure on our community pharmacies, which is why I am pleased the Government is giving them a £300 million cash boost to help support the vital role they play as we deal with this disease.
“Whilst businesses and venues have been instructed to remain closed – pharmacies are an important exception to this, they can remain open and continue to operate as normally as possible. For people who are shielding or self-isolating, pharmacies can deliver prescriptions to their door, so that everyone can get the medicine they need without breaching social distancing guidelines.”
Minister for Health Jo Churchill said: “Every day, community pharmacies carry out critical work to protect the health of the public and support the wider NHS. This is even more important now as we face this unprecedented time.
“We hugely value the role of the community pharmacy, which is why we are backing them with £300 million of advanced funding to support them as we continue to assess the full additional impact of coronavirus on community pharmacy.
“To further support pharmacies, we have reduced the services they need to deliver during COVID-19 but have maintained their full funding.”