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Q&A: Sue Sharpe talks funding

The PSNC chief executive answers queries on the next funding settlement, which it hopes to conclude by April

The PSNC chief executive answers queries on the next funding settlement, which it hopes to conclude by April

When will negotiations begin for the 2015-16 funding? Do you expect to face the same delays as with this year's settlement?

"One of the reasons for the extended negotiations this time was the NHS reforms, which slowed progress as NHS England had to take over commissioning responsibilities. PSNC spent a great deal of time trying to ensure that NHS England colleagues understood the value of the pharmacy service and all that it has to offer but the delays were frustrating to everyone. Of course, the committee is hopeful that future negotiations will not be so lengthy, but, as ever, that will depend upon the speed at which NHS commissioners are able to make decisions and allocate budgets."

What issues would you like to tackle in the 2015-16 settlement?

"Negotiations on settlements beyond 2014-15 have not yet begun so it is not yet possible to comment on what outcomes those might lead to. NHS England has also not yet developed its strategy for primary care, so we do not yet know what its plans for pharmaceutical services will look like. However, PSNC's objective is to continue to develop the community pharmacy service and to secure the maximum funding possible for contractors, to be delivered fairly and smoothly across the sector. PSNC set out in its vision the many ways in which it believes that community pharmacy services could be developed and in our future negotiations we will be working to implement that vision. We also hope, given NHS England's extended role in looking after primary care contracts, to be able to bring in more robust links with the GP contract to try to address some of the issues between the professions, which we believe are a barrier to the development of pharmacy's role."

You named supporting self-care as a priority for the sector in future. How open is NHS England to a national pharmacy minor ailments service?

"PSNC believes that a national minor ailments scheme could make a significant impact in reducing pressure on GP practices and urgent and emergency care services; providing a convenient service for patients and enabling them to receive care closer to home. This view has been recognised by NHS England director for episodes of acute care Professor Keith Willett in his ongoing review of urgent and emergency care. We continue to press for this and to highlight the benefits it could have to NHS England and other policy makers."  

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