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'Why NHS England twice refused my pharmacy funding'

owner independent pharmacy access scheme phas bedford nhs

An independent pharmacy in Bedford was refused protection from the funding cuts on two occasions, despite evidence of "pockets of deprivation" in the surrounding area.

The Pharmacy Access Scheme (PhAS) was introduced in December 2016 to protect pharmacies in England situated one mile or more from another pharmacy by road from the “full effect” of the funding cuts – as long as they are not in the top 25% best-performing businesses according to dispensing volume.

In October 2016, the Department of Health (DH) introduced a “near miss” process to review pharmacies that did not initially qualify for the scheme. But NHS England confirmed this month that it had found just 71 out of 370 applications “eligible” for funding.

Indira Panchal, who owns Meiklejohn Pharmacy at Harrowden Road, received a letter last week (June 21) saying her appeal to the NHS England review panel – following the failure of her first application – had been rejected.

“We clearly showed [NHS England] that we are in a deprived area," she told C+D. "But they said they couldn't make one rule for us and not for the other pharmacies [in the area]."

C+D's digital reporter Thomas Cox visited Ms Panchal's four pharmacies last Thursday (June 22). Watch the video below to find out what Ms Panchal's next steps are, as well as the positive impact her pharmacies are having on the local population.

Click 'CC' to open/close subtitles on the video

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