Negotiations over a national minor ailments service in England have come to a dead end, PSNC has announced.
NHS England had “decided not to pursue” the service despite PSNC submitting a “detailed proposal” making its case, the negotiator revealed when announcing the 2015-16 funding package yesterday (July 20).
The funding package included a £2.8 billion global sum – the same as last year – and a new nationally commissioned advanced flu vaccination service.
PSNC said it was “frustrating” that plans for a national minor ailments service had been shelved, having announced it was in negotiations over its funding in May.
The negotiator said the service would have encouraged patients to use pharmacists instead of GPs for minor conditions, and warned that abandoning negotiations was a "massive missed opportunity for the NHS".
“PSNC believes it will have a negative impact on both the NHS and patients, who are missing out on a valuable professional service that could both improve care and reduce pressures on GP practices and the wider health service,” it argued.
The negotiator vowed to continue to “make the case” for a national minor ailments service that was right for pharmacists and took into account the potential record-keeping costs.
Gary Warner, contractor and chair of PSNC’s service development subcommittee, said he was “disappointed” by NHS England’s decision. But he added that NHS England’s agreement to work with PSNC on business cases for other services – also announced as part of the 2015-16 funding package – could help make future bids a success. No details of what services might be included in this agreement have been given by PSNC.
Peter Cattee, chair of PSNC’s funding and contract subcommittee, said there was still a long way to go in communicating pharmacy’s potential value. “It is clear that, although many people – including politicians and policy makers in the health service – have heard this message, we still have more to do,” he stressed. “This can be exasperating work.”