Pharmacy owners hit hard by recent funding cuts

New research suggests that recent sector funding cuts have hit the personal income of many UK Pharmacy owners.

According to a report published at the end of December, around four in five British Pharmacists experienced a noticeable drop in their personal income over the course of 2017.

Of the 42 community Pharmacy contractors assessed as part of the annual Chemist and Druggist (C&D) Salary Survey, 79 per cent said that their personal income fell in the 12 months to December.

The average contractor experienced an income drop of approximately 13 per cent – but some reportedly suffered falls of anywhere up to 20 per cent, C&D said.

Its report argues that sector funding cuts which were first announced in late 2015 are largely responsible for 2017’s sharp falls in contractors’ salaries.

In December 2015, the UK Government indicated its intention to cut pharmacy funding by six per cent. A year later, the Department of Health unveiled its final funding plans for 2016 and 2017, which amounted to an actual funding cut of around 12 per cent – double what was initially intended.

In the wake of the cuts, Pharmacy owners and contractors have had to shuffle around their resources – with many taking pay cuts or reducing the number of holidays they take each year.

Sector representatives, such as Hitesh Patel, of City and Hackney Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC), have voiced concerns that financial losses have – in some cases – been “far greater than predicted by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee.”

Others, such as Luvjit Kandula, of Leicestershire and Rutland LPC, have stressed that “the future is uncertain” with regards to the longer-term impact the cuts will have.

Pharmacists are being urged to consider other appropriate ways of reducing their expenditure – such as exploring tax-efficient business structures – as opposed to embracing further salary cuts in 2018.

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