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'LPCs must support pharmacies through 5-year funding contract'

Richard Brown: The contract will pay pharmacists more for delivering good patient outcomes
Richard Brown: The contract will pay pharmacists more for delivering good patient outcomes

Local pharmaceutical committees (LPCs) must support contractors in delivering the new service-based contract, Avon LPC chief executive Richard Brown has said.

The new five-year funding deal presents pharmacies in England with an opportunity to “be financially better off” if they are successful in delivering services, Mr Brown told C+D on Tuesday (July 30).

Although there will be uncertainty and challenges, the contract presents a “huge opportunity” for the sector to be remunerated for delivering good patient outcomes – something which pharmacy has talked about “for years“, he said.

As the chief executive of Avon LPC, Mr Brown outlined the “huge role” that LPCs should play in helping pharmacies to implement the changes set out in the contract.

“We can’t expect our pharmacies – which are unbelievably busy and trying to keeping their heads above water – to go through this massive change unsupported,” Mr Brown told C+D.

Planning and training

LPCs must take on the “firm challenge” to support both multiples and independents by “delivering support and training” that is “easily accessible and at the lowest possible cost”, Mr Brown stressed.

He outlined the workshops that Avon LPC is hosting to train pharmacists and provide advice on the contract.

As well as having a good working relationship with its LPC – if they have not done so already – contractors should also start to build a relationship with their local GP practice and primary care network, he said.

“If a GP practice is going to refer a patient into the pharmacy, they’re also going to want to have a level of trust as to how that patient is going to be cared for,” Mr Brown explained.

In the “transitional” months leading up to March 2020, when the sector adapts to the new contract, pharmacies and LPCs must “gear themselves up for a new way of working”, he added.

Scrap free services

Avon LPC will work with its contractors to encourage them to “stop doing activities that are not paid for”, Mr Brown said.

He listed free deliveries, compliance aids and free services provided to care homes as “prime examples”.

Alternatively, contractors could “look at a model where they might start to charge for some of these services”, Mr Brown said.

“It stands to reason that the pharmacies that do get on board [with the contract] will actually be financially better off than they are at the minute,” he added.

What do you think of the five-year funding settlement?

Ranjeev Patel, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

This is quite frankly ridiculous. Unless the LPCs can provide either extra staff (no chance) or extra money (no chance), then whatever this support is that they are supposed to be providing will be as much use as a fart in the wind.

David Kent, Community pharmacist

Sue is a youngster at 42 years.  I have been a member for over 50 years and seen monumentous and often catastrophc changes to our once proud , if always under-recognised and underpaid, profession.  When I qualified (1968) the multiples were not a threat; things have changed and very soon, perhaps in my lietime indepenant paharmacy will virtually cease to exist.  This so called settlement is another disgraceful PSNC failure.

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

Insightful.  Although change is a part of society, the rate and scale of change is clear to see in the last decade. This must be addressed by the PSNC soon and the PSNC should become more like a union if NHS England continue to ignore our sector. 

SUE THOMAS, Pharmacy Asistant/ Medicine Counter Assistant

how can stopping free delivery to the elderly people who are on mds be classed as cost effective....its called a careing profession...or used to be these people cant afford to pay and they need to speak to someobe if they are struggling with their mds community pharmacy should be called something else 42 years ive been in pharmacy n i cant wait to retire

N patel , Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

have to take a tough approach... no more free deliveries and mds.. most of the oldies can afford the small fee we charge anyway.....

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

I remember when MDS came in and community pharmacy was going to charge for the service but Boots ( I worked for them at the time :-( ) deliberately set a policy of doing them for free in the hope of either grabbing the business or imposing costs on smaller independents.

the same scenario has played out with services ever since with the v large multiples trying to use their deep pockets to out last smaller companies/independants.

These policies are now coming home to roost with no margin left to support them, and huge patient expectation accumulated. We will at some point soon have to bite the bullet and start charging for what we do or go under. 

no other sector does any more than it absolutely has to and, while I do care about my patients, I also care about my staff and my job.

hard times indeed!


Ronald Trump, Pharmaceutical Adviser

42 years...congratulations Sue you should be proud! Where do you think it all went wrong? Whats the biggest change you have witnessed over the years? And where do you see community pharmacy in 42 years time?




SP Ph, Community pharmacist

First of all, there is absolutely no clarity on any of the new services even to the PSNC who have signed off the contract. So, how do you expect the contractors to understand any of it with or without support?

Next -- """""how that patient is going to be cared for"""" Are you serious?? We need to learn this from the GPs?? The biggest joke of the millenium. Lets look at the scenario. The GPs are so full up (apparently) with work that they want to transfer some of it (mostly economically less interesting) to the Pharmacists and we have to butter up the GPs to get referrals??? What kind of situation are we in? I would be happy not to have any referrals that take most of my time without really getting a decent remuneration.

After all the hoohaa about targets blah balh about MURs, now the Pharmacists will end up pulling their hair for doing services without targets (which means more unpredictable unlike MURs where atleast you had a number) plus finish all the other tasks including dispensing (trust me HUB & SPOKE will not take their role of answering the never stopping phone calls, rather more due to the blunders by H&S) Happy days.

Ronald Trump, Pharmaceutical Adviser

How are pharmacies going to be better off financially when the annual global sum is remaining thesame at £2.592 billion for the next five years? (Probably a reduction considering inflation).

The nhs pie remains the same size. You can't create money from thin air. My prediction is that the big boy multiples, with their economies of scale and resources, will find it much easier to adapt to the new service based contract and will start to pick off patients from smaller independents, who will continue to be sqaushed.

'Look at a model where they might start to charge for some of these services' - now that is a good idea!



Watto 59, Community pharmacist

The complete lack of detail regarding the administation of extra services naturally leads to questions regarding their practical application, and no amount of support from LPCs will speed up duplicating/ repeating/ paperwork and/or operating clunky difficult to navigate NHS software with constantly changing passwords and access requirements.     .  Furthemore as the funding level is actually an ever increasing cut where is the huge opportunity ? It seems to me that at the very least  an individual pharmacy's response to this" joke "of a settlement will have to be significantly more than that of the average pharmacy  just to stand still.  

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