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'LPCs must support pharmacies through 5-year funding contract'

Local pharmaceutical committees (LPCs) must support contractors in delivering the new service-based contract, Avon LPC chief executive Richard Brown has said.

The new five-year funding deal presents pharmacies in England with an opportunity to “be financially better off” if they are successful in delivering services, Mr Brown told C+D on Tuesday (July 30).

Although there will be uncertainty and challenges, the contract presents a “huge opportunity” for the sector to be remunerated for delivering good patient outcomes – something which pharmacy has talked about “for years“, he said.

As the chief executive of Avon LPC, Mr Brown outlined the “huge role” that LPCs should play in helping pharmacies to implement the changes set out in the contract.

“We can’t expect our pharmacies – which are unbelievably busy and trying to keeping their heads above water – to go through this massive change unsupported,” Mr Brown told C+D.

Planning and training

LPCs must take on the “firm challenge” to support both multiples and independents by “delivering support and training” that is “easily accessible and at the lowest possible cost”, Mr Brown stressed.

He outlined the workshops that Avon LPC is hosting to train pharmacists and provide advice on the contract.

As well as having a good working relationship with its LPC – if they have not done so already – contractors should also start to build a relationship with their local GP practice and primary care network, he said.

“If a GP practice is going to refer a patient into the pharmacy, they’re also going to want to have a level of trust as to how that patient is going to be cared for,” Mr Brown explained.

In the “transitional” months leading up to March 2020, when the sector adapts to the new contract, pharmacies and LPCs must “gear themselves up for a new way of working”, he added.

Scrap free services

Avon LPC will work with its contractors to encourage them to “stop doing activities that are not paid for”, Mr Brown said.

He listed free deliveries, compliance aids and free services provided to care homes as “prime examples”.

Alternatively, contractors could “look at a model where they might start to charge for some of these services”, Mr Brown said.

“It stands to reason that the pharmacies that do get on board [with the contract] will actually be financially better off than they are at the minute,” he added.

What do you think of the five-year funding settlement?

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