Briefing MPs on COVID-19 costs

Briefing MPs on COVID-19 costs

March 5, 2021

PSNC is continuing its work to brief Parliamentarians on the financial pressures facing community pharmacies.

Ahead of the Budget, PSNC had called upon the Chancellor to intervene in ongoing COVID-19 funding negotiations and ensure that pharmacies do not have to pay back the £370 million in emergency loans they received last year. The letter was featured in The Times and PSNC has also been briefing Parliamentarians to update them on the funding situation for pharmacies, asking them to call on HM Government to cover contractors’ COVID-19 costs.  

Following the Budget announcement, in which no provisions for pharmacies were made, MPs from the All-Party Pharmacy Group (APPG) were vocal during a parliamentary debate, stating that support for pharmacies is lacking and desperately needed.

Peter Dowd, Labour MP for Bootle, and APPG member said: 

“…I was disappointed to find that there was not, as far as I can tell, anything in the Budget statement that in any way sent a message of support to the pharmacy sector, let alone any practical or financial support for it. A key sector in the fight against COVID through the vaccination programme has been cut adrift, yet the Government still ask a sector that is under strain to pull out all the stops.” 

“…I want to highlight some of the concerns and recommendations identified in the APPG’s report of December 2020 and the themes brought out in it that are affecting the sector. First, the Government should review the response from pharmacies during the pandemic and re-evaluate a clear vision of what we need from these undervalued frontline healthcare workers…a reassessment by finance teams in the Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS of the value of pharmacies would be welcome…the Government should write off the advance payments as an immediate way of providing relief.” 

While Jackie Doyle-Price, Conservative MP for Thurrock and Chair of the APPG said:  

“…there is a real issue with regard to the moneys advanced to pharmacies to deal with the consequences of the pandemic; it now needs to be clawed back and that is going to hit our pharmacists, who have been at the front end of the fight against the pandemic. I just remind Ministers to get together with the NHS to come up with a solution to this. Notwithstanding the fact that pharmacists are independent providers, they are very much part of our NHS and should be treated as part of the NHS family.” 

Upcoming debate: Thursday 11 March

The APPG has secured another opportunity for MPs to discuss pharmacy in Parliament and on Thursday 11th March at 1.30pm MPs will debate pharmacy and the impact of COVID-19.  

PSNC will be encouraging MPs to contribute to the debate next week, but it would be helpful if LPCs and contractors could also write to their MPs asking them to join the debate on Thursday.  

Some template text is available below for those who need it and you can use this postcode checker if you are unsure of your local MP.

Template text to contact MPs – Debate on 11 March

For any queries or for more information about this work, please contact: 

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