McKesson UK is calling on the Government to recognise community pharmacy as a truly integrated healthcare partner by giving them access to the same business rate support as GPs and dentists.
Toby Anderson, McKesson UK CEO commented:
“We stand with over 50 of the UK’s largest retailers in demanding the government makes changes to the broken business rates system. For many years, community pharmacy has been dealt a bad hand, swept up in a one-size fits all approach, despite having a unique role to play in promoting healthcare and providing vital services.
“Unlike other NHS providers such as GP practices or dental surgeries, which have their business rate tax reimbursed by the NHS, pharmacy is still inexplicably charged the full amount. We believe that this is fundamentally at odds with the NHS Long-Term plan that relies on pharmacies stepping up and becoming a more integrated partner. For us to be able to do that, we need the government to untie our hands.
“We employ over 17,000 people in our retail stores, but they aren’t selling fizzy drinks and sweets, they are helping people to feel better and live heathier. They’re providing stop smoking advice, checking blood pressure, signposting to other health professionals, screening for diabetes, not to mention dispensing vital medication on behalf of the NHS.
“Many pharmacies, particularly those in rural locations, are often the only accessible healthcare option for miles around. In lesser doctored areas, locals rely exclusively on their pharmacist for the care and expertise they provide. The business rates we currently face do not reflect the critical role we play in the communities we serve.
“The inequity of how healthcare providers are treated is compounding the financial pressure already being faced by our sector. With changes to funding and increasing operational costs, the ability to invest and grow our business is becoming more challenging. We are imploring the government to make sure pharmacy has access to the same conditions that other healthcare professionals like GPs and dentists have.”