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APPG chair: Next pharmacy contract could be five-year deal agreed ‘in phases’

All-Party Pharmacy Group (APPG) chair Taiwo Owatemi has suggested that the next community pharmacy contract could be another five-year deal in an exclusive interview with C+D.

However, Ms Owatemi suggested that this new contract – to be negotiated for after the current five-year deal ends – could instead be agreed “in phases”.

Speaking to C+D last week (February 2), she said that the sector needs to look at alternative contract models.

Read more: ‘We're exactly the same’: Pharmacists should be paid like GPs, says APPG chair

One of Ms Owatemi’s priorities for 2023 as APPG chair will be to look at “whether or not the five-year contract should be a five-year contract”, she said.

“I don't think it should be,” she told C+D, especially as “so much changes within health”.

“Fundamentally, one of the reasons why pharmacy and the sector are struggling is because [the contract] is negotiated way in advance without any future planning for any further changes”, she said.

Read more: APPG chair: ‘Clear’ health sec does not understand pharmacy

“We as a profession have to look at different models” for the pharmacy contract, Ms Owatemi added.

However, she said that an alternative could be sticking to “a five-year model” that could be “agreed in phases”, for example finalising the terms every “two years”. 

Payments for “direct activity”

Meanwhile, the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) has this week (February 8) set out its own vision for what the next contractual deal could look like.

The CCA “prospectus for community pharmacy” said that “providing access and service should be recognised separately to direct activity”.

Read more: PSNC to mull alternative types of contract as current model ‘not working’

“There must be recognition of the access to healthcare provided by community pharmacies, as well as payments for direct activity undertaken”, it added.

“Dynamic” reimbursement system

The CCA also said that the medicines reimbursement margin must be “dynamic”, to reflect the “changing costs and volumes of medicines procured”.

And contractual negotiations “can be simplified through upfront agreement to an independent measure of the increased costs of doing business”, it added.

Read more: CCA: Pharmacy First could release 30.5m GP appointments per year

Each individual part of the community pharmacy contract should be “fairly remunerated and reflect the relevant workload”, the CCA said. 

It comes as Ms Owatemi also condemned the difference in renumeration for services between pharmacy and general practice in her interview with C+D.

Read more: PSNC kicks off ‘proper discussions’ on Pharmacy First with DH

And she questioned whether the health secretary and the government “understand” the pharmacy sector’s needs and capabilities.

In September, the CEO of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee said that the negotiator was mulling a totally new community pharmacy contractual framework (CPCF) for after the current one concludes.

Meanwhile, health minister Neil O’Brien said yesterday that “the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England are jointly considering what should follow the end of the current CPCF 2019-2024 five-year deal”, in response to a written parliamentary question


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