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NHSE&I allocates funding to develop ICS pharmacy leads

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) has allocated money from the Pharmacy Integration Fund (PhIF) to pay for the development of ICS-based community pharmacy integration leads.

Speaking at the Pharmacy Show in Birmingham on Monday (October 18), director for primary care strategy and NHS contracts Ed Waller announced that the funding to develop this workforce has been provided in response to “the sector's plea for more joint work”.

In a statement released yesterday, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) clarified that the PhIF money will be used “to fund the leads for two years, [starting] from 2022/23”.

“These leads will be instrumental in spearheading the implementation of community pharmacy services locally and help support the transition to integrated care systems (ICSs),” PSNC said.

ICSs may be responsible for the local commissioning of pharmacy services from April 2022 – following government approval.

Speaking at the Clinical Pharmacy Congress last month, England's chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge said ICS chief pharmacists will be “crucial” to delivering the government’s revamped medicines optimisation programme.

Commenting on the announcement, PSNC director of NHS services Alastair Buxton said that any help to facilitate better integration of community pharmacy within the healthcare system “is to be welcomed”.

However, PSNC previously made the case for some extra funding for pharmacy primary care network (PCN) leads – a request that was “dismissed” in its most recent round of negotiations with the government.

“We sought such investment from outside the [funding contract's] global sum in the recent negotiations and while such funding was not available, we will continue to push for that as an important enabler of local integration,” Mr Buxton added.

 

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