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PSNC: Months before most pharmacies start hypertension service due to 'preparatory work'

It could take “most” pharmacies some months to go live with the hypertension case-finding service, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has told C+D.

Community pharmacies that fully met the requirements for provision of the advanced service were able to start providing it from October 1.

However, PSNC director of NHS services Alastair Buxton told C+D yesterday (October 6) that it “will take some weeks or even months for most pharmacies to get this service up and running”.

This is due to the “preparatory work” contractors need to complete and the fact that most of them are “currently busy with flu vaccinations”, Mr Buxton added.

Contractors wishing to provide the service must sign-up on to do so on the Manage your Service portal, purchase equipment validated by the British and Irish Hypertension Society (BIHS), complete all the appropriate training and engage with local GP practices before commencing, PSNC wrote in a 13-step checklist.

Pharmacies planning to provide the service should also consult the service specification beforehand, PSNC said on  resource page dedicated to the hypertension case-finding programme. So far, however, only a draft version of the service specification has been released, with contractors still awaiting a final version.


Support networks negotiate deals for their members


Pharmacy support networks Avicenna and Numark have negotiated deals to secure ABPMs for their members in England, they told C+D following the launch of the service.

Avicenna has negotiated a deal with manufacturer Microlife to secure blood pressure monitor (BPM) packages for members wishing to provide the service, superintendent pharmacist Rupen Sedani told C+D yesterday (October 6).

Half a dozen members have already placed orders for the packages since the launch of the service on October 1, he added.

A spokesperson for Numark said the support group has also negotiated a deal on ABPMs, which it claimed would allow it “to pass on savings to our members and help them get the service up and running as quickly as possible”.

Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive at the Association of Independent Multiple pharmacies (AIMp), told C+D that many AIMp members will have access to 50% discount on the product because many of them get their insurance through Numark.


AIMp: Required monitors in and out of stock


Pharmacies opting into the scheme must purchase specific BPMs and ABPMs that have been validated by the British and Irish Hypertension Society, PSNC wrote on its website.

Dr Hannbeck claimed that the scheme had created high demand for suitable BPMs and APBMs, with “some reported stock being available on and off”.

However, most AIMp members will prepare for the majority of their branches to offer the service, she said.

C+D reported in August that PSNC had negotiated additional incentive funding for the hypertension case-finding service.

Contractors participating in the scheme will receive an initial set-up fee of £440 for signing up to the service. They will be able to claim £15 per clinic check and £45 per ABPM, receiving incentive payments once they have delivered a certain threshold of activity.

Mr Buxton told C+D he foresees many community pharmacy contractors choosing to provide the advanced hypertension case-finding service, “as this is a service that the sector has been seeking to get commissioned for many years”.

“The price of ABPMs does vary depending on the manufacturer and model, but the cost of them was an important factor in our negotiations, which we used to press for the additional funding that has been put into this service as incentive payments for contractors,” he said.

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