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Government will cut numbers if pharmacies don't up their services, PSNC warns

Practice Pharmacies must go the extra mile to justify their existence to the government, PSNC chief Sue Sharpe told the Avicenna conference

The government will look to cut pharmacy numbers unless the sector can prove its worth through services, PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe has warned.

Community pharmacy faced a "grim" future if it was unwilling to offer anything beyond dispensing, Ms Sharpe told the Avicenna conference in Birmingham on Sunday (October 20), because it would make justifying England's existing network of more than 11,000 pharmacies difficult.

But she stressed that there were "tremendous opportunities" for a pharmacy network that provided consistent and reliable services, including support for patients with long-term conditions.

Justifying England's 11,000 pharmacies would be difficult based on dispensing alone, PSNC chief Sue Sharpe warned

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"If pharmacy voted with its feet to say the only thing you can really rely on us to do is supply, that [would] trigger a potential shift to hub-and-spoke warehouse operations and people saying there are cheaper ways we can meet the needs of patients," Ms Sharpe argued. "A lot of us buy books from Amazon [and] groceries online, and we're kidding ourselves if we think pharmacy will be different and people won't be attracted to other ways of getting their prescriptions."

Ms Sharpe stressed that pharmacies could no longer rely on growth in prescription volumes, as this was already starting to slow.

"If we're not going to offer anything systematically beyond dispensing, it's looking pretty grim, frankly," Ms Sharpe warned, but added: "If we can help avoid the burden of disease, then I think policy makers will really be positive and enthusiastic about making sure we have a well-funded network out there."

Taking on routine care of stable patients with long-term conditions and acting as a "healthy lifestyle hub" to prevent conditions such as obesity and alcohol-related illness would put the sector in a strong position, Ms Sharpe said.

She suggested these should be essential services, rather than opt-in services. "As a clinical commissioning group, I don't understand how I could commission a service unless every pharmacy provided the service," Ms Sharpe argued.

"I just don't see an optional framework working for us in the areas where we want to move forward, so that's quite challenging," she told the conference. "So as a sector, we need to decide what we can commit to."

She added: "The number of pharmacies NHS England is willing to fund will be intimately connected to services we are willing to do."

Ms Sharpe did not confirm when the delayed 2012-13 funding package would be agreed, but said it was "getting closer" and stressed that it was better to "get it right than get it quick".

What national services should pharmacies in England commit to?

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Amal England, Public Relations

The first national service every pharmacist should do is to band together and force Sue from her chair. It's a disgrace for Sue to stay in her position, her weakness has led to the worst era for pharmacy. Sue makes Teflon Tony look like rotten wood.

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

You all have to admit though, Del Boy does make it funny!

There's always a village idiot.. No one likes him, but it's enjoyable watching him make such childish statements!

Nadir Khan, Community pharmacist

Why was number of pharmacies increased in first place? let me refreshen your memory that this was brought for benefit of big multiples likes boots by people sent by these companies to RPSGB. Did PSNC oppose these openings?

Nadir Khan, Community pharmacist

What future will this profession have if we have people like her negotiating with DOH.For her pharmacy is just like buying a book? Rather than admitting that PSNC is useless and is a tax on pharmacy for doing nothing, she is giving warnings. Can she tell me what paid services she has negotiated with DOH since 2005?She is askingto do services which don't even exist. Contractors are losing money every month while she is getting her wage so why will she bother to negotiate anything better. I will urge all the contractors to wake up and replace this PSNC or get ready to sell your businesses to big multiples.This is double game being played by PSNC to squeeze independent contractors toa level where they will be forced to sell pharmacies to big multiples. She isn't doing what she should be doing and trying to shift blame. Has PSNC negotiated anything on reduced discounts with DOH for direct to pharmacy lines? Contractors have been losing on these lines since 2006 when pfizer started this mess for us.Clawback is still fixed while discount is less than clawback. I work 4/5 of my shift without even a drop of many of PSNC staff work like this? There isn't even time to breath properly for a pharmacist. I invite her to work with me in my pharmacy for one month and then after a month all her misguiding statements will change.WAKE UP CONTRACTORS BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE AND REPLACE THIS PSNC.WE NEED TO GET RID OF THEM OR SELL OUR BUSINESS.CHOICE IS YOURS.


If you don't drinkwater, thats's your CHOOSE TO WORK LIKE THIS....




Small Pharm Owner, Other pharmacy staff

Del Boy do you think 90p is enough when it takes 2 weeks for a certain medication for an end of life patient to arrive. When as an owner operator I have spent hours and hours, being told by Alliance, Phoenix, AAH that the manufacturer cannot supply. The manufacturer themselves saying their is no issue but it will take two weeks to set up an account directly with them for it to be delivered. Broken promises from the wholesalers - "you should be able to order it by the end of the week" or "I have emailed head office and will call you when they reply". Constant liaison with the GP suggesting alternatives that have been tried and failed. All while I am Having to tell the family, time and time again the excuses for why this drug designed to spare the individual from dying a horrifically painful death is not avaliable. Not to mention the hundreds of patients whose other medications I have had to be put to one side while i sort out this mess. Despite calling 15 pharmacies across half the county, all other pharmacies have the same issue. Before you criticise independants just think that when your locum shift is over you can go home, put your feet up. enjoy posting ill informed comments but don't criticise independants when you don't have to face the patients day in day out and deal with the madness of stock shortages and dispensing of drugs which cost in excess of £60 less then you are reimbursed!


if your not happy with the status quo, sell up.....

Or is there an imaginary rope around your neck making you stay in the profession

By the way I am a contractor myself. I was having a joke and it's been taken seriously..
Moaning about conditions won't make the situation better....

Small Pharm Owner, Other pharmacy staff

£60 more even then you are reimbursed!




yes the shoe company !!
Daily mail ..

Chad Harris, Community pharmacist

Probably some poor pharmacist trying to do 4 things at once, in the nearly tragic methadone case.
As is usual in all the multiples these days, and now we have Sue from PSNC telling us to do even more!!!
Which will result in more STRESS and MORE MISTAKES!

Perhaps she should go and spend a week in a pharmacy and see what actually happens!!!
(thank God the child is ok)

I am fed up of having services rammed down my throat, when the local authority has about 2 dozen people in all these non jobs in alcohol awareness promotion and weight management facilitator, and vascular programme manager. Whats do they DO all day apart from create more work for us, usually reems of useless paper which Joe Public isn't interested in!! That money could be put into the global sum to lessen the effects of category M clawbacks.

There are 8 people , yes EIGHT doing smoking cessation alone!!!! in one CCG i deal with. My God, no wonder we have a deficit, as our tax pays their wages!! for doing nothing barely useful.

You can't tell me that one single authority needs 8 smoking cessation advisors ?!!!
(Blame Bloody Gordon Brown and his client state of useless public sector workers, all with pensions of course. To give free stuff to a client state of benefit and tax credit recipients. No wonder we will never get a Tory majority again to end this culture of something for nothing.)

Some days we can barely get the 400 to 500 items done, let alone do 2 MURS and log all our ''interventions'' And promote health. All the healthy living pharmacies are doing is making the staff ill with stress!!!

And anyone who tries to build their business focusing on services that can be decommissioned at the stroke of a high-up non jobbers pen in a council office is a fool.

We need fully funded nationally agreed services that are quick and easy and not needing to fill out 7 pieces of paper to give out a box of bloody champix!!

Community pharmacy is in a total mess and melt down. God only knows why there are 9 or 10 applicants for every place, which certain bods think is a good thing to get the creme de la creme. Well, sorry, but you won't. They will go and do medicine and get treated with the respect and remuneration that comes with being a well educated professional. Not scrabbling around for work bring offered derisory rates of £17 an hour after 6 to 7 years post GCSE study.

I saw an ad yesterday for assistant managers for Aldi for 23k rising to 30k after a year or two training and store managers start at 34k rising to 52k+.

Even London train drivers earn more than the average community pharmacist.

Stick that in your pipe Sue Sharpe! More money and less legal stress and responsibility running a supermarket.
And all thanks to the multiples for highjacking pharmacy and turning it from a caring well paid career into a money making exercise to fund certain companies tax dodges so they can make over a billion in profit.

Have I missed anything poor downtrodden fellow employees and locums?
Please feel free to continue. And please READ the BLOG by Ranveer in last weeks C&D about why he has left pharmacy. A very concise piece about the divide between the real world at the coal face, and the pie in the sky thinking in certain big-wig offices!!


I'm sorry mate but no excuses. if he/she signed the RP log, they should accept the conditions and refuse to sign the RP log and walk away.

I hate the multiples but there's gotta be some self accountability......
It's easy to blame someone else....when will pharmacists make a stance and say NO!!!

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

sue sharpe and those in power just do not get what community pharmacies do every day. They do not offer "just dispensing" and how sue sharpe can even say this is beyond me. What about minor ailment schemes, supervised methadone dispensing, advice on ailments, travel medicine advice, advice on medicines both poms and otc, counselling on medicine taking, mar charts, murs, mds provision, nms, repeat prescription ordering, collection and delivery, sourcing of hard to get products and on and on and on. it makes my blood boil when those in charge say that pharmacies offering "just dispensing" will go out of business - none do! And while we're on the subject, dispensing is an extremely important and critical job that pharmacists do hundreds of times every day. Try giving a patient the wrong medicine, or the wrong dose and see what happens- a possible criminal record, jail sentence and striking off, resulting in loss of career - what do you think now, sue sharpe?

Daulat bishun, Community pharmacist

well said I agree with you 100%

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

Technology has devalued the dispensing function to a price based commodity. It will be to the patients' safety with further cost cutting and DOH and PSNC dont seem to value it much.
Once they realise, it will be much too late in the day. Big business will rule the day and there will be no going back with even thinner margins to come. High street premises will close in some localities.

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

The payment that pharmacies get for dispensing goes to partly fund all the other services that pharmacies carry out every day, that i have just outlined above. None of these apart from murs's and nms are funded specifically and if dispensing funding is cut then all these other services will go. good luck with gp and accident and emergency attendances if that happens!


90P for sticking a label on a box is pretty good going

Keith Seston, Other pharmacist

To what are you referring?If is is the dispensing process provide evidence that it is a) "sticking a label on a box " b)90p c)" pretty good going"

I propose that your recent posts suggest that posting frequency is inversly propotional to analytical intelligence and as evidence I cite your last ten posts

Ref Del Boy 23/10/13

Nadir Khan, Community pharmacist

every profession have TRAITORS so everyone can tell that even in this little discussion of our problems who is TRAITOR. Until we have people like him in our profession then their is no hope for us.

Dipak Desai, Community pharmacist

Del Boy - what do you actually do ? Your comments do not make sense

Z Rafiq, Community pharmacist

Problem with Sue and her constant talk of providing services as a way forward is that payment for services are abysmal. Last year the demanding service of substance misuse was savaged by the DofH after the PSNC suggested that contractors were getting paid too much. PSNC are not fit for purpose and are quick to want pharmacies to provide services for free ( may as well be free considering the pittance we are paid). Better idea would be to give up front money to each pharmacy for each service and give targets to meet, if targets are not met then claw money back through ppa payments. This gives an incentive to pharmacies to provide services with the knowledge that failure to do so will have an affect on their income.
As for DEL BOY...You sound more like DUKE!


There's a long waiting list of pharmacists wishing to be owners

If your not content with the status quo, sell up and move to pastures new

Can't stand moaning contractors. YOU NEVER HEAR LOCUMS COMPLAIN.

You get me. ?



Your a contractor who closes for lunch and 1730

What you moaning about ?

Danny TheRed, Community pharmacist

All other forums I frequent have a filter option, please can someone let me know how I can filter Del Boy, life is just too short....................

Nadir Khan, Community pharmacist

If you figure out then let me know as well as i will do the same. Never seen such an arrogant pharmacist.He is not GREEDY yet he owns a pharmacy and works as locum contradicting is that? for him dispensing is just sticking a label. It is locums like him who work in any pharmacy one day and takes managers four days to clear mess created by them. thanks God now days of locums are over and no more your rates MR Del Boy work for £18/hour (if any desperate pharmacy offers you work) or their are many newly qualified who work a lot better.526 more qualified on friday.

Nailesh Patel, Community pharmacist

Del boy.......whos a plonker?
Or is it batman....or robin

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

I've just realised- there are pharmacies that offer "just dipensing" - they are called internet pharmacies!

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

sorry that should read "just dispensing"

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

i'll tell you what del boy have you ever taken professional responsibilty for dispensing a single prescription? have you ever checked dosages or interactions or clinical suitability? i suspect not. when you have completed a four year mpharm degree, a years prereg and passed the prereg exams, then come to me and tell me that 90p is pretty good for sticking a label on a box - you are so stupid i almost feel sorry for you.

Nadir Khan, Community pharmacist

well said Chris..i agree with your thoughts about him. Can he not see that everyone dislikes his comments everywhere and negative votes he got.


It's clear that work is getting to you mr armstrong...Maybe you require diazepam 2mg ?

For clarification: I completed the 3 year degree with a nice grant...

I worked hard in the good old days of locuming and saved up to open a pharmacy. NO LOCUM COORDINATOR TOLD ME WHAT RATE THEY WILL PAY.!!!I told them.. No bank loan required to purchase my pharmacy. I passed my pre - reg exam and have been on the register for over 10 years....

I now do a mixture of locuming/own community pharmacy/ voluntary work.

I am financially secure/content AS I AM NOT GREEDY!!!!

If you don't like the profession, Your free to leave and do whatever you fancy..No ones tied a rope around your neck.

Locums don't fare much better but they seem to get on with life. Always the contractors..that moan


Here endth the lesson!!


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