Contracts for essential small pharmacies (ESPs) have been extended until March 2015. They had originally been introduced in 2006 for five years but had already been extended once until March 2013. ESPs receive subsidies to provide pharmacy services in deprived areas to keep them financially viable. The news of the extension follows months of negotiation between the Department of Health and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee.
Steve Lutener, the PSNC’s head of regulation, said: “This announcement will come as welcome relief for the 80 or so ESPs. The decision has been hanging over those pharmacies for some time, and this announcement will give them the confidence to continue providing essential services to their local population.”