Prescriptions hit 1bn mark for first time in 2016/17

1,015.6 million prescriptions were dispensed in community pharmacies in England in 2016/17, figures from NHS Digital show, making it the first period in which scripts reached one billion. However, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee commented that the period NHS Digital looked at ended before funding cuts took effect on the sector.

A total of £1.032 billion in dispensing fees was received in 2016/17, the NHS Digital figures show, the highest amount ever received by the community pharmacy sector in England. The average number of fees received per pharmacy was 88,270.

The figures also show that while the number of community pharmacies in England as of 31 March 2017 was 0.1 per cent higher than in the previous year at 11,699, the number of independent pharmacies fell by 0.3 per cent to 4,434.  

Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee chief executive Sue Sharpe said that “payment systems mean the impact of cuts is not seen for several months,” adding that “a further cut was implemented from 1 April 2017 so these figures cannot give the full picture of how the imposed funding package is now impacting on the community pharmacy network”.

“We have already seen some news of closures, such as Celesio UK announcing the closure or sale of 190 LloydsPharmacies. It is too early to predict what pharmacy numbers will be after the effect of these cuts have been felt,” Miss Sharpe said.

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