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DH to discuss ‘details’ of ‘care-orientated’ pharmacy funding contract

Steve Brine is “very interested” in pharmacy's role in managing long-term conditions
Steve Brine is “very interested” in pharmacy's role in managing long-term conditions

The government will discuss “the detail” of paying pharmacies in England for their “care-orientated” role, in its funding negotiations this year, C+D has learned.

In a letter to the all-party pharmacy group (APPG) – an excerpt of which has been shared with C+D – pharmacy minister Steve Brine said he had “been very interested in the evidence that the APPG has been hearing on proposals around community pharmacy and the management of long-term conditions”.

“This is, in part because, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has made proposals around shifting the community pharmacy contractual framework away from rewarding dispensing activity to a more care-oriented payment approach.”

“The detail of this will be the subject of negotiations,” Mr Brine added in the letter.

Although the minister told C+D as early as last year that he is keen for a “fair, realistic and sustainable funding settlement” for pharmacies, his latest statement is the first confirmation that PSNC’s proposals for a service-based pharmacy contract may have gained traction within the government.

PSNC awaiting details from minister

PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe was quick to point out that the minister has so far “given no detail on what the substance of our negotiations with the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) and NHS England for 2018-19 will be”.

“Given the very difficult financial situation that many community pharmacy contractors now find themselves in, it is vital that we start to make meaningful progress towards achieving the sector’s vision.”

“PSNC’s ambition is to move to a funding framework that fairly rewards community pharmacies for offering a wide range of patient care and services, including the dispensing of medicines,” Ms Sharpe added.

PSNC has “not yet received a mandate” for the funding negotiations, the organisation added, “but hopes these discussions will begin soon”.

“Strong indication of real ambition for services”

APPG chair Kevin Barron (pictured above) welcomed Mr Brine’s comments as “a strong indication that the DH will come to the negotiation table with a real ambition to develop services that make the best use of the community pharmacy network”.

“It’s been a long-standing aim of the group to move towards a contract that incentivises high quality care, rather than volumes of pills,” Mr Barron, who is also Labour MP for Rother Valley, added.

“It’s vital, now, that pharmacy and government put their heads together and commission the most effective services.”

What should a new pharmacy contract look like?

Peter Sainsburys, Community pharmacist

Care-orientated? Patient-orientated? What do these idiotic terms mean?

Pharmacists have always cared about their patients. It's just now that overpaid people sit around tables whilst on a fully-paid for conference somewhere, that they feel the need to come up with these buzzwords to justify their outrageous pay packets.

If you care about patients, their "outcomes", and want the public to benefit, stop wasting money and let pharmcists get on with the job they were doing prior to 2005 (which had been fine for over a century, by the way).

Pharmacists dispense prescriptions, provide excellent advice about medicines and healthcare, and are a pillar of the community.

Overdressed, and overweight middle aged men in boardrooms do nothing to assist the patient's experience in their local pharmacy.


Brian Austen, Senior Management

If I was a betting man, I would bet that NHS England will see this as the PSNC giving them the opportunity to reduce overall funding.

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

I hope this doesn't give the DH an excuse to take away remuneration from pharmacists dispensing function. But if the DH do actually listen to the PSNC this time (!) it is at least a step in the right direction.

Dave Downham, Manager


Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

Please. Pay. Us. For. The. Endless.MDS. 

Surely that’s long term care?

John Urwin, Community pharmacist

A lot of MDS is simply to enable care agencies to use cheaper, less well trained, staff.

Charles Whitfield Bott, Pharmacist Director

If they have carers then they have to pay for a tray, hard and fast rule now.

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

Absolutely! Next it’s the family members who insist on them. Dare we charge as an independent? It’s impossible. Every contractor should speak about this current situation and CCGs need to understand we DO NOT GET A DDA PAYMENT!!

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