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Almost 60% of readers dubious of PSNC national service drive

Readers voiced scepticism over the negotiator's strategy to produce business cases with the NHS, but Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire's Robbie Turner is more optimistic


Almost six in 10 pharmacists are unconvinced that joint business cases for services between PSNC and NHS England will lead to more national commissioning, a C+D poll has revealed.

Fifty-eight per cent of 62 respondents to a C+D poll, which ran on the C+D website from July 24 to August 3, lacked confidence in PSNC’s plans to collaborate with the commissioning body on business cases. The remaining 42% were optimistic over the initiative.

PSNC announced it was “pleased to have gained agreement” to work with NHS England to create “persuasive business cases” for potential new pharmacy services as part of the 2015-16 funding settlement last month (July 20), 

At the time, the negotiator said it was “too early to say which services will be considered first”, but pledged to “look to build on areas [that] have the best evidence of the positive impact that community pharmacy can have on patients and the NHS”.

Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire chief executive Robbie Turner suggested that some pharmacists are dubious about the business cases due to PSNC’s failure to secure a national minor ailments service, which is “fresh in people’s minds”.

But that did not mean “there won’t be opportunities in the future”, he stressed. “The commissioning environment has changed massively in the last couple of years and robust evidence from local services is needed to inform national discussions,” he added.

'No silver bullet'

PSNC director of NHS services Alastair Buxton said the business cases will not be a “silver bullet that will lead to new services immediately”. But building “robust” business cases with a detailed analysis of statistics and evidence will be an “essential first step” towards increasing pharmacy services, he told C+D.

“This is just the first stage. After that, the NHS still has to be persuaded of the case, agree to funding levels and make the service viable and sustainable for contractors,” he added.

How confident are you in PSNC's chances of securing more national services?

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