PSNC responds to Government Spending Review

PSNC responds to Government Spending Review

November 25, 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has today set out the Government’s spending plans for the remainder of 2020/21. HM Treasury is attempting to curb Government spending where possible due to the increasing amount of national debt that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has created. However, in the midst of this healthcare crisis, NHS spending continues to be seen as vital.

The Chancellor has committed to increasing the core health budget by £6.6 billion, as well as pledging an extra £3 billion to support the NHS to recover from the impact of COVID-19. The core funding aims to help deliver 50 million more GP appointments, whilst half of the COVID support monies has been earmarked to ease existing pressures in the NHS.

These top-level spending commitments to the NHS are promising, but, as ever, the impact on community pharmacy will depend on the details.

PSNC has this autumn put two funding bids to Government: a COVID costs proposal, and a bid seeking an urgent uplift to the funding associated with the five-year Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF). We have yet to receive a response to either, but hope that the completion of the Spending Review will now allow these negotiations to be continued and concluded soon.

Other healthcare spending commitments in the Government Spending Review included:

  • Capital investment will be increased by £2.3bn since last year – to cover spending on building new and refurbishing older hospitals, and modernising NHS equipment and technology.
  • £15 billion for the NHS Test and Trace service – to cover public testing, contact tracing and provision of rapid turnaround tests for NHS and Social Care workers.
  • An additional £733 million for purchasing COVID-19 vaccines, and £128 million to support vaccines research and development.
  • £2.14 billion to purchase and distribute personal protective equipment (PPE), with a view to maintaining a four-month stockpile across 2021/22.
  • £163 million for medicines used in the treatment of COVID-19.

PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said:

“The Spending Review sets out high-level HM Government spending priorities and does not detail their intentions for community pharmacy. PSNC has submitted two comprehensive funding bids to Government – one on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pharmacies, and one seeking an uplift to CPCF funding – and we hope that we will now receive a response to those soon. The commitments of this review to support the NHS are welcome, and the £1.5bn set aside to help ease pressures on the NHS caused by COVID-19 must be used to give community pharmacies the help that they urgently need. With the Spending Review now complete, we hope HM Government will be able to progress and conclude funding negotiations with us swiftly: it is critical that contractors get more support, and clarity, as we head into the winter.”

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