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NHS England reveals why minor ailment negotiations collapsed

NHS England told C+D it could not agree with PSNC on the terms of a potential national service, and that it had a responsibility to ensure "good value for the taxpayer"


NHS England refused to commission a pharmacy minor ailments scheme because it could not reach an agreement on the “price, specification and service model” with PSNC, C+D has learned.

The commissioning body said on Wednesday (July 22) that it had a responsibility to ensure “excellent quality and good value for the taxpayer”, when asked by C+D why the national service did not form part of the 2015-16 funding settlement. It did, however, say it would continue to encourage commissioning of local schemes.

PSNC revealed on Monday (July 20) that NHS England had decided not to pursue the service, despite the negotiator holding “lengthy discussions” and submitting a “detailed proposal”.

PSNC said it was “frustrating” that the service had been shelved, having announced it was in related negotiations in May. The negotiator said the service would have encouraged patients to use pharmacists instead of GPs for minor conditions, and warned that abandoning negotiations was a "massive missed opportunity for the NHS".

But it stressed the importance of commissioning a service that would “work for pharmacy in practice” – with a fee that took into account the evidence-based advice and support, as well as potential record-keeping costs.

The negotiator vowed to continue to make the case for a minor ailments service that was “right for community pharmacists and patients”.

Has NHS England given valid reasons for not commissioning a minor ailments service?

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