Government Funding Cuts to Community Pharmacy

Published: 2019-08-16 08:00:00
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Health care is important in every country with every government looking to ensure that their people are properly safeguarded through important health care models. The NHS is responsible for ensuring proper health care in England. Therefore, it plays an important role in formulating policies that are meant to develop the best working structures in the country. However, although people need to have the best quality care, it is important to assess the costs and budget limits that are within the countrys budget. The NHS has found that the countrys budget on health care is too steep and is looking to cut funding on community pharmacy. The NHS has suggested a cut of 170 million pounds through decreasing the number of pharmacies that are funded by the government (Smyth, 2016). Although the government recognizes that there are technicalities that may be involved in these processes, it is ready to work with other stakeholders in the health industry to come up with the best model that is aimed at reducing the costs of community pharmacy in the country. This paper assesses the importance of community pharmacy to a country and how amid the problems that are being faced with cost cutting there can be proper patient services delivered to all in the society.

NHS is the body with the mandate and control of all NHS primary care services within England including community pharmacies. Community pharmacies dispense and check prescriptions and provide advice to patients on the medicine that has been prescribed to them. They are also consulted by patients on the side effects and dosages that should be taken for different ages in their families. The community pharmacies are indispensable in their roles as consultants since they are equivocal in giving good advice to the patients to avoid any cases of problems due to taking improper dosages. Clinical pharmacies are spread all over England, and their strategic positioning within different neighborhoods has made it possible for patients to solicit their services when they are directed on the medication by their consulting doctors. There are different models that have been suggested to cut back on the costs of health care and increase the funding for other projects within the country. The reduction in health care costs has been a challenge in the country, and the NHS has decided to institute a reduction in the number of community pharmacies in the country to curb the problem. The reduction in England was announced on 17th December 2015, and it looked to reduce the number of pharmacies by between 1000 to 3000 pharmacies across the country. This set out a reduction in the number of funding in the country by around 6% that amounted to 2.63 billion Pounds in the following year (HOUSE OF COMMONS LIBRARY, 2016 pg2). The reduction would be spread over the years and the amount of cost in the health care sector would be effectively reduced in the process. There are different models that have been instituted by the NHS as a means to ensure that it controls the costs and involves practitioners to make sound decisions on the models that need to be instituted in the country to make the best model towards developing a better structure. The government through its different schemes is aimed at changing the instituted models and increasing the level of service delivery to the members of the larger society.

The NHS has cited that amid the problems faced by the country the numbers of community pharmacies in the country are too many. They argue that there are pharmacies that are located within a small radius and are all given the same level of funding by the government to run their services (Smyth, 2016). One of the methods that the pharmacies can use to ensure cost cutting is merging and coming together to form a single and bigger pharmacy. In an area where there are three or four pharmacies that are located within a short distance to each other, they can merge and come together to form a bigger pharmacy at a reduced level of funding. Since the level of cost-cutting by the government seems to be static it is important for the pharmacies to look for an alternative to ensure that they remain in business. However, there has to be an agreement between the pharmacists as well as the government on an improved rate that does not meet the prevailing rate that is used in the present model. It is critical for the pharmacies to look on strategizing and positioning themselves in the market better since they stand a chance of losing the market if the new suggested models are adopted. Also, the pharmacies can also agree that in areas where the government deems that they are too clustered they can reduce the funding for each pharmacy. Instead of a merger that may be deemed to be too complex, the pharmacies may agree to reduce the amount of funding by the government to meet the demands of the government in these regions. The pharmacies would still serve the same number of people, and the rates would be favorable instead of being forced to close. Since the government instituted a similar structure that forced many doctors to close down their practice, pharmacies need to be proactive to ensure that they do not face similar consequences or models in future.

The NHS faces the dilemma of reducing costs while also looking to give the people the best level of care. These are attributes or aspects that make the NHS face massive problems that are critical to the development of a better program for the people that is meant to tackle its problems and sensitize the people. The NHS needs to consult with other stakeholders in the health sector before implementing these models (Smyth, 2016). The pharmacies are looking to engage the government and look for a better approach that is meant to cut the costs but maintains the quality of care offered to the people. The NHS therefore, needs to mobilize the social structures and improve the models through either suggesting mergers or giving them deals that are better than closing down. It, therefore, needs to meet with all the pharmacies and list down their options that are highlighted and split across the needs of the people in the society. Sensitizing the importance of the cost cutting processes and the options that can be available for the pharmacies helps in mobilizing the pharmacies to give quality care to their patients.

Although cost cutting may impede on the level of care for people in the society, the level of health care budget is too steep and the community pharmacies are too many in England. The reduction will reduce the level of costs although the NHS has to consult and involve the pharmacies in these processes to ensure that they keep the high level of quality care for the patients.

References

HOUSE OF COMMONS LIBRARY. 2016. Community Pharmacies.

Smyth, C. (2016, January 27). Thousands of pharmacies face closure in 170 million pound fund cut. The Times.

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