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New pharmacy contract for NI to be drafted by end of March

NI Department of Health: New framework will fully realise the potential of community pharmacy

The Department of Health (DH) in Northern Ireland has given the official go-ahead for the development of a new community pharmacy contract in the country.

“Discussions are already taking place” to develop a new framework for community pharmacy services by March 31, Northern Ireland health minister Michelle O’Neill said in a statement last Friday (January 13).

The signing of a “memorandum of understanding” – a formal agreement – between the DH, Community Pharmacy Northern Ireland (CPNI) and the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB), will help to develop a contractual framework that “fully realise[s] the potential of community pharmacy services”, Ms O’Neill added.

The new framework is expected to be drafted by the end of March, and implemented at a later date, CPNI confirmed to C+D today (January 17).

The pharmacy body did not confirm what it expects to see from the new contract, but said it would be "a significant move in progressing contractual negotiations".

“CPNI looks forward to working with [the DH and HSCB] over the coming months to develop the potential of community pharmacy services, which will benefit patients by supporting better health outcomes from medicines and preventing illness,” it added.

Ms O’Neill said the new contract will “define the unique and valuable contribution of community pharmacy to keeping people well and using their medicines safely”.  

“Your local community pharmacy is your first point of contact for advice on your health, helping you to get well and stay well throughout life, through the safe supply of medicines, treatment of common complaints and services designed to help you get the most benefit from your medicines and improve your health,” she added.

What should be added to the new pharmacy contract in Northern Ireland?

Brian Austen, Senior Management

GPs in Northern Ireland are voting next week to resign from the NHS. Polls are projecting that >75% will vote to leave the NHS. If this happens and the vast majority of prescribers are no longer in the NHS, what happens to NHS pharmacies?

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