Pharmacies provide a critical service to our local communities. It is essential they are supported through the current pandemic.
I was pleased to see the Government announce £300 million in funding to support community pharmacies. £200 million was paid on 1 April to pharmacy contractors, alongside their normal monthly payments from the NHS Business Services Authority. A further £100 million will be allocated on 1 May 2020.
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. I know some local pharmacies have concerns about the length of time before the money is received and the impact it will have on cash flow and I will raise this with the relevant Ministers.
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.
Pharmacies have been provided with an initial stock of protective kit (PPE), including 200 general use aprons, 100 pairs of examination gloves and 50 fluid repellent face masks. If a pharmacy has used their full allocation of PPE then they should order further supplies from their wholesaler. The Government will keep under review the need for further supplies to be distributed.