Health secretary Matt Hancock has said he plans to “drive money towards pharmacy” from a growing NHS budget, on the condition that community pharmacies provide “more NHS services”.
Speaking on LBC on Monday September 5, Mr Hancock said he was a “massive fan” of pharmacies, which he described as the “front door of the NHS in our community”.
Asked if he would push the treasury to release more money for pharmacies, he said: “Within the NHS budget I want to drive more money towards pharmacy.
“The NHS budget is going up and I want to do a deal with pharmacies where we offer more NHS services to be delivered in pharmacies, and we pay people for that.”
It is unclear which services the health secretary was referring to and how the sector’s funding package will change to incentivise pharmacies to provide them.
Under the terms of the present contractual framework, pharmacies in England are tasked with offering an increased number of NHS services, including the recently launched Hepatitis C testing service, with funding kept below 2016 levels at £2.592 billion per year.
The Government is also in talks with the PSNC around Covid-19-specific funding, with the negotiator arguing that £370m worth of cash advances given to pharmacies to help them stay open during the crisis should not have to be repaid.
The Department of Health and Social Care has been approached for comment.