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Unforeseen benefits applications by pharmacy continue to dog controlled areas

Pharmacy network shrinks to 2015 levels

October 29th 2021

Tagged: NHS statistical reports Rurality

By Ailsa Colquhoun

Analysis of the pharmacy network during 2020-21 reveal that four of the six applications in controlled areas for new pharmacies during 2020-21 were based on unforeseen benefits – but all were refused.

The dataset General Pharmaceutical Services in England 2015/16 – 2020/21 reports that 236 new pharmacies opened during 2020/21, while 451 closed. This is the lowest number of active contractors since 2015/16. here were 11,600 active community pharmacies and 112 active appliance contractors in England during 2020/21

Some 1.03 billion prescription items were dispensed by community pharmacies and appliance contractors in England in 2020/21. This is a 1.79 per cent decrease from the number of items dispensed in 2019/20 but still a 2.35 per cent increase in items dispensed since 2015/16.

The cost of drugs and appliances reimbursed to community pharmacies and appliance contractors totalled £8.97 billion in 2020/21. This was an increase of 3.72% from £8.65 billion in 2019/20 and a six year high despite the reduction in dispensed items in 2020/21.

For more explanation of the importance of ‘unforeseen benefits’ applications by pharmacies in rural areas, view the DDA conference presentation by PCC advisor Charlotte Goodson.