To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the cashflows of community pharmacies; what estimate he has made if the number of community pharmacies that (a) have closed in each of the last three financial years and (b) will close in the financial year 2021-22; and if he will make a statement.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
23 March 2021
The latest data available from the NHS Business Services Authority show that there were 74 net pharmacy closures, reflecting openings and closures, from June 2017-18; 82 net closures in 2018-19; and 126 net closures in 2019-20. The data for the year 2020-21 is not yet available. We have not estimated the number of community pharmacies that might close in 2021-22 but we continue to monitor the market.
Discussions are ongoing with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) about additional funding for costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of its assessment of COVID-19 costs incurred by the sector the Government will take account of the £370 million increased advance payments paid to community pharmacies. The COVID-19 support package for community pharmacy also included general COVID-19 business financial support, funding for Bank Holiday openings, social distancing measures and the medicine delivery service to shielded patients and free personal protective equipment, as well as non-monetary support including the removal of some administrative tasks, flexibility in opening hours and the delayed introduction of new services.