Community pharmacies contributed £3 billion to the NHS, public sector, patients and wider society in England in 2015 through just 12 services, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) study released today.
This means that community pharmacies deliver substantially more in benefits than they receive in compensation, providing excellent value to the Department of Health.
The study, which was commissioned by PSNC following the Government’s proposals to reduce community pharmacy funding, analysed the value to the NHS, public sector organisations, patients and wider society of 12 services across public health, self-care support and medicines support.
Services analysed included supervised consumption, emergency hormonal contraception provision, minor ailments, delivering prescriptions and managing drug shortages. Pharmacies made more than 150 million interventions through the services in 2015 and there was a benefit of more than £250,000 per pharmacy or £54.61 for every resident of England.
Breaking the combined contribution down into the areas which are benefitting, it was found that:
- The NHS received a net value of £1,352 million, including cash savings as a result of cost efficiencies, and avoided NHS treatment costs;
- Other public sector bodies (e.g. local authorities) and wider society together received over £1 billion through increased output, avoided deaths and reduced pressure on other services such as social care and justice; and
- Patients received around £600 million, mainly in the form of reduced travel time to alternative NHS settings.
The expected amount of public sector spending saved directly as a result of the 12 services analysed in the report is enough, by itself, to offset the entire amount of public funding provided for community pharmacy in 2015. The benefits of all other pharmacy services not covered by the analysis, such as the NHS prescription service, can therefore be seen as additional net benefits of community pharmacy.
The report demonstrates the value of community pharmacy at a crucial time and PwC concludes that it is important to robustly assess the significance of any proposed changes to the support and delivery of these services.
The PwC reports are available to download and read:
Sue Sharpe, Chief Executive of PSNC, said:
“PwC’s research shows that community pharmacies punch above their weight in terms of economic value. This is the evidence ministers need to make the case for continued investment in community pharmacies, developing these services even further to bring additional benefits to the NHS and wider society. We look forward to working with ministers to help them consider the implications of the research.
Community pharmacies already provide services at the heart of their communities which people rely on all over the country. Today’s research shows that those services more than pay their own way. This is an excellent foundation on which to build new services to address England’s growing healthcare challenges.
Community pharmacy has worked hard this year to make the case for the sector to be put to better to use to help both patients and the NHS. We were encouraged to hear this week that the new minister recognises the contribution that we can make and this research provides crucial evidence of the important role that we already play both across the health service and more widely.
PSNC will continue to battle to ensure policy on community pharmacy is founded on an understanding of what we do now and what we can do to help our patients and communities manage their health needs.”