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LPCs should redistribute 13% of funding to PSNC, review recommends

LPCs should redistribute some of their funding to PSNC to ensure it is "appropriately resourced", a report looking at how the negotiator can work more closely with local pharmacy representatives has recommended.

The proposal to “rebalance” local and national funding by £750,000 per year is in line with the “lower estimate” recommended by the Wright Review, an independent report that advocated a dramatic overhaul of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) in 2020, the report said.

Led by the Review Steering Group (RSG), the report found that freeing up this extra money would require local pharmaceutical committees (LPCs) to “work in a different way”, allowing them to increase their contributions to the negotiator from April 2023.


Read more: PSNC review recommends dramatic overhaul of the negotiator


While the report warned against increasing costs for contractors, LPCs could decide to raise their contractor levy “in exceptional cases where [this is] demonstrably below the national average”, the report suggested. However, the RSG “believes efficiencies and changes within LPCs will be sufficient to cover this shift in funding streams”, it said.

The report, published this afternoon (April 29) sets out 37 proposals to address how PSNC and the LPCs should best respond to the recommendations outlined in the Wright Review.

Voting on the proposals is expected to open the week beginning May 23.

Once voting opens, contractors will have a three-week window, during which time they can cast their vote.


Key recommendations


Key themes within the raft of proposals include ensuring stronger governance within PSNC, better alignment with the NHS, appropriate resourcing, and stronger collaboration.

PSNC chief executive Janet Morrison said these principles were “difficult for anyone in any sector to argue against”.

She added: “I hope community pharmacy contractors will agree. A ‘no’ vote on these proposals, in my view, simply makes us, as a sector, less credible in the eyes of the NHS and government, who are ultimately the people we need to be focused on.”

One recommendation was to cap membership for all PSNC and LPC committees and subcommittees to 12 years or three terms of four years, starting from April 2023. This would allow current committee members to remain until 2035.

This recommendation was where members of the RSG saw the “most point of difference” with one another at the beginning of RSG discussions, Aneet Kapoor, a contractor and director of strategy for Greater Manchester LPC told C+D.

The report also suggested reducing the number of PSNC members, while maintaining the current balance between independents and multiples. This would provide “unity and representation of all parts of the sector”, the report suggested.

Other notable recommendations include renaming PSNC to Community Pharmacy England and matching pharmacy representation regions to the seven NHS regions in England: East of England, London, Midlands, North East & Yorkshire, North West, South East and South West.

Under the proposals, LPCs will be supported “to become more efficient and to review their boundaries in line with NHS integrated care system changes, subject to the view of local contractors and NHS England and NHS Improvement”, the RSG said.

Ms Morrison added that “many” of the RSG’s proposals marry with “what I would be looking to do…to try and get a better [funding] deal next time”.


Read more: PSNC chief: Workforce pressures hinder pharmacy’s move to service-led model


“Community pharmacy representatives must all be working towards the same goals, and the RSG’s proposals seem to be a positive step towards making that happen better,” she said.

Meanwhile, PSNC vice-chair Bharat Shah said he would be voting in favour of the proposals and encouraged others to do the same. 

“If we don’t, and choose instead to keep debating what might have been done differently, then we cannot complain when our representatives – local and national – find themselves unable to move forward, and unable to get better answers on our behalf,” he said.

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