Fylde MP Mark Menzies has welcomed a £300 million cash boost to ensure pharmacies can continue essential services during the coronavirus outbreak.
The funding injection will support pharmacies in Fylde and across England and will help them to provide critical services to protect community health, including supplying medicines and providing medical advice to patients, during a period of unprecedented demand.
Some £200 million was paid on April 1 to pharmacy contractors, alongside their normal monthly payments from the NHS Business Services Authority, and a further £100 million will be allocated on May 1.
In addition to this funding, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has reduced the number of services that community pharmacies 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. DHSC is also working to increase the workforce capacity and flexibility, with calls to those pharmacy professionals who have recently left professional registers to return.
Mr Menzies said: “Pharmacies are under enormous pressure, so I am delighted to see this £300 million cash boost to help support the vital role they play as we deal with this disease.
“Pharmacies are clearly an important exception to those businesses which have been instructed to close – they continue to operate as normally as possible. For people who are shielding or self-isolating, pharmacies can deliver prescriptions to their door, so that everyone can get the medicine they need without breaching social distancing guidelines.
“I am incredibly grateful for the work of pharmacy staff, as I am for all of our NHS heroes.”
Minister for Health Jo Churchill said: “Every day, community pharmacies carry out critical work to protect the health of the public and support the wider NHS. This is even more important now as we face this unprecedented time.
“We hugely value the role of the community pharmacy, which is why we are backing them with £300 million of advanced funding to support them as we continue to assess the full additional impact of coronavirus on community pharmacy.”