PSNC: Multi-year funding settlement may never be possible
PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe told C+D it was unclear whether NHS England would ever consider agreeing funding for more than one year, despite her pledge to secure a multi-year funding agreement in 2013
PSNC may never achieve its aim of a multi-year funding settlement, the negotiator has admitted.
PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe told C+D it was unclear whether NHS England would ever consider agreeing funding for more than one year in an exclusive interview yesterday (September 24), despite pledging to secure a multi-year funding agreement in 2013.
Although it had previously seemed possible to secure long-term funding, Ms Sharpe said the situation changed when NHS England took over negotiations in April and affordability became the "determining factor".
The new funding settlement attracted criticism from pharmacy leaders and politicians this week for only lasting until April 2015, and Ms Sharpe said the committee "shared the frustration of all contractors" of not being able to secure a multi-year deal.
"Securing stability and predictability in funding remain our core objectives", she stressed.
NHS England had "not been prepared to discuss" funding beyond the current financial year as it was still formulating its broader primary care strategies, Ms Sharpe said.
The sector had to wait two years for the current funding settlement and PSNC hoped that negotiations for the 2015-16 contract would "not be so lengthy", she said. "As ever, this will depend upon the speed at which NHS commissioners are able to make decisions and allocate budgets," Ms Sharpe told C+D.
Announcing the settlement on Monday (September 22), Ms Sharpe insisted the negotiator was "very keen" to reach a settlement for 2015-16 before April. Shadow pharmacy minister Jamie Reed MP told C+D the following day that a "long-lasting" pharmacy funding settlement was needed to ensure stability for the sector.