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Boots expects pharmacy funding to return to ‘normal levels’ next year

Boots: Through PSNC, we’re debating funding with the government in a positive way
Boots: Through PSNC, we’re debating funding with the government in a positive way

Boots’ senior management expect the ongoing contract negotiations to result in funding returning to “normal levels” next year, C+D has learned.

Discussing the multiple’s latest finances in a conference call last week (June 27) – in which he also discussed plans to close 200 low-performing branches – Walgreens Boots Alliance co-chief operating officer Alex Gourlay said Boots’ parent company is “pretty convinced there’s been underfunding” for the UK’s community pharmacies “in the last period”.

“Working within…the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), we’re now debating that with the government in a positive way,” Mr Gourlay said, referring to the ongoing negotiations for a new funding contract.

“Of course, we can’t make any further comments until that negotiation is complete,” he added.

Chief financial officer James Kehoe also sounded optimistic, explaining he “expects an improvement” in funding by the final three months of 2019, before a return “to normal levels next year”.

Minister promises ‘fair settlement’

Addressing contractors at the National Pharmacy Association conference last month (June 20), pharmacy minister Seema Kennedy said she is “committed to working with PSNC to deliver a fair [funding] settlement for NHS services”.

This settlement will “reward those pharmacies committed to delivering a wide range of health services and better quality”, Ms Kennedy added.

Do you think the funding cuts will be reversed?

Salim Maalim, Community pharmacist

What if this is not true but an attempt to improve the market should they sell some of the 200 planned for closure!

C A, Community pharmacist

If this were to be untrue and he was allegedly
doing it for benefit (either personal or business?) someone could potentially report Alex Gourlay to the GPhC for potentially breaching the standards. Section 9 states "not to abuse their position or set out to influence others" and possibly section 6 "are trustworthy and act with honesty"

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

Salim I thought of that too!! A manipulative ploy to add some kind of value to their shops! 

Pharmacist Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

But yet still Boots will make life working hell for their underpaid and overworked staff. I doubt they will give any payrises. The only people who will get a rise are those at the top who dont need or deserve a rise

C A, Community pharmacist

Oh no, if funding returns to normal, surely staffing levels and pay rises will return to normal as well?

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

The new contract should begin in October, so I’m fully expecting enough funding which will enable me to not go bankrupt by the end of the year. Otherwise it’s bye bye time. 

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

I’ll believe it when I see it

Caring Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Very strange how Boots know this information and PSNC is oblivious to this?

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Call me sceptical. But, there is a big BUT, since this news is from the BIG BOY, do you think there will be enough for small independent pharmacies who are facing more heat compared to the vertically integrated pharmacies??

All we can do is wait and see!!

Clarke Kent, Community pharmacist

This is really positive, and makes a change from all the doom and gloom that has shrouded this sector since the cuts began. Thanks for your tireless efforts to get this kind of important news reporting to us C&D team. This news will boost many contractors morale. 

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