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Numark chairman questions NPA’s June 20 loss-making claim

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Numark chairman questions NPA’s June 20 loss-making claim

Numark chairman Harry McQuillan has questioned the National Pharmacy Association’s claim that its ‘day of protest’ on June 20 marks “the day from which the average pharmacy across the four nations will be loss-making overall”.

McQuillan (pictured) said that although he agreed with the rationale for the protest, which will see NPA members embark on a series of symbolic measures including turning the lights out in their pharmacies for a period in response to the government’s poor funding of community pharmacy, he did not believe the average pharmacy in the UK was loss-making during the last third of the month.

Other measures the NPA is urging its members to embark on include asking staff to wear black, blacking out the pharmacy’s windows, inviting candidates running in the general election to their pharmacy and using the hashtag #saveourpharmacies on social media.

McQuillan, who was chief executive of Community Pharmacy Scotland for 17 years before joining Numark this year, said: “I have to respond to the (NPA’s claim) last week on a potential emergency protest being held on the 20th June, where the NPA stated that that date was chosen as ‘the day from which the average pharmacy across the four nations will be loss-making overall.’

“I do not believe that claim to be true, particularly in Scotland. I base my view on 17 years’ experience in the community pharmacy negotiating field and extensive knowledge of the current funding package there.

“That background does not allow me to support the view that an average pharmacy across the whole of the UK, in that environment, is loss-making for the last third of a month.”

McQuillan said questioning the NPA’s claim did not mean he did not recognise the pressures community pharmacies are under. He insisted the community pharmacy contractual framework “cannot sustain an economically viable network.”

“I am not saying that cost pressures have not increased and that operating margin has not come under intense pressure, they have,” he said, insisting that “quite rightly, many pharmacy owners in England are frustrated and angry.”

In response, NPA chief executive Paul Rees told Independent Community Pharmacist: “Although we recognise the funding outlook varies between countries, it is clear there are challenges facing pharmacies across all four nations.

“Our analysis shows that in all 13,000 pharmacies, there has been an over 30 per cent reduction in funding on average over the last 10 years. It's really important that we all come together to highlight the challenges that our members are facing and ensure political parties take note of these during this general election.”

McQuillan, meanwhile, said Numark “has lobbied and will continue to lobby for a fair contract” and was “focusing its efforts on, engaging and informing the new cohort of MPs”.

“Numark will continue to focus on doing everything it can to ensure the support services it delivers to its community pharmacy members, across the four nations, means they can practice as safely, efficiently, and profitably as possible,” he said. 

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