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Sector names lack of minor ailments disappointment of 2015

John Nuttall: National service a "no brainer"

Pharmacy leaders, including Well chief executive John Nuttall, have stressed that a national minor ailments scheme would have improved care and reduced costs

Industry leaders have pinpointed the lack of a national minor ailments scheme as one of the biggest disappointments of the year.

Representatives from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), Well and Numark hit out at the breakdown in negotiations over the service this year and highlighted the impact on patient care.

RPS president Ash Soni branded NHS England's failure to reach an agreement with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Commitee (PSNC) a “failure”, given the service's potential to have a “huge benefit”.

"There was a lot of support from NHS England saying we should have a consistent service across England for minor ailments patients, and it seemed to be progressing very well. At the last minute, unfortunately, it didn’t make the cut for the contract," he said.

Well chief executive John Nuttall said “the numbers and the analysis” suggest a minor ailments service would reduce admissions to A&E and GP surgeries, while reducing NHS costs. “As a policy maker, I think it’s a no-brainer,” he said.

Numark director of pharmacy services Mimi Lau said a national service “seemed liked common sense”.

"[I am] frustrated that we didn’t get a nationally commissioned service, given the benefits and value that it could bring to the NHS and to patients. My hope next year is that it will be back on the table and that it’s not written off completely," she said.

NHS England told C+D in July that negotiations for the national service were abandoned at the last minute because it could not agree, “price, specification and service model” with PSNC.

Government's lack of engagement

The industry leaders also expressed concern about the government’s lack of engagement with the sector in 2015.

Mr Nuttall said the government doesn’t “know enough about what we do in pharmacy”. “Unfortunately, it’s caught up with us now and I think it’s going to be a very painful 2016 as a result," he said.

Mr Soni said that pharmacy had not been recognised “as widely as it could be”.


What has been your biggest disappointment of 2015?

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information


Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

surely this was voted for before the announcement of the 6% pay cut for next year and the statement that there are too many pharmacies!

janet maynard, Community pharmacist

Working in a tourist area (the lake district) we find it frustrating we cannot offer the minor ailment scheme to holidaymakers.

Asmita Patel, Community pharmacist

The Minor Ailment Scheme has been running for a few years and nobody seems to have paid much attention to it and used it as a learning curve. There has been a total lack of awareness by patients absolutely no support from GP practices and no marketing to promote the service in any other way. Pharmacies tend to use their own marketing approach but with different pharmacies using different tools it is quite disjointed. Why can't a message be incorporated in the answering services of GP practices for patients who could benefit from this service to make pharmacies their first port of call and then if need be they can be referred by pharmacists if necessary. Surely a dialogue can be set up with receptionists who can hopefully weed out these sort of clients and they can then be sign posted to the nearest pharmacy who offer this service.Instead of shouting about the failure of the service use it as a learning curve and improve on it to make it workable . THERE IS SUBSTANCE IN IT!!!!!

janet maynard, Community pharmacist

our receptionists are good at sending suitable patients to us for minor ailments.

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

There should be NO minor ailments service UNTIL such time as workload issues have been addressed. Greedy corporate multiples are driving this agenda as they stand to benefit immensely from it as they will impose targets on their managers and staff that ethically operated independents would never do.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

You can imagine those idiots at boots stating 10 minor ailments consultations is a compulsory daily minimum.

Bal Singh, Locum pharmacist

Look, if the Government policy makers wants something...they get it. Simple as that. Our negotiation committee is shocking and useless. What have they done to Justify any kind of Salary? What benefits have they achieved for pharmacy? Seriously? I would love to know. Minor ailment? fail. Hub and Spoke...being rammed through as we speak. Cuts to pharmacy? DONE AND DONE!!! Pharmacy needs Recognition? No. Pharmacy needs better PR. In the game of politics, that is what works.

Paul Mayberry, Community pharmacist

we are all in this together. You can't blame the PSNC for all this. We as individuals should be the professions best PR. We need to engage with the policy makers & the decision makers, locally & nationally. How many of us have talked to ministers, MPs, councilors , health board directors, doctors? Those of you who haven't are to blame for the lack of recognition & respect. If you don't engage you are deciding to leave everything to the PSNC and then look what happens!

Paul Miyagi, Information Technology

Talking to an MP does work. Everyone needs to do it. I asked mine to look into Boots tax. HMRC did reply !!!!!

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