Community pharmacies are receiving a £300 million cash boost to ensure they can continue to carry out essential services during the coronavirus outbreak.
The advanced funding injection will support pharmacies 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 has already reduced the number of services that community pharmacy 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, such as updating practice leaflets.
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.
“We are also working to increase the workforce capacity and flexibility, with calls to those pharmacy professionals who have recently left professional registers to return and have ensured that there is adequate indemnity insurance to cover community pharmacy activities during the pandemic, for locum staff, and for professionals who may be relocated to pharmacies that are not their normal place of work.”