The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee's (PSNC) new CEO, Simon Dukes, suggested to C+D in June that the government may have been delaying the start of negotiations until the Court of Appeal gave its verdict on the pharmacy funding cuts case.
With the court dismissing the appeal – which was brought by PSNC and the National Pharmacy Association – last week, PSNC told C+D yesterday (August 30) that it “looks forward to returning to a collaborative working relationship with the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) and NHS England”.
“PSNC has kept the lines of communication open throughout the judicial review process, and meetings with senior officials and government ministers are already in the diary.”
“In recent months it has been particularly encouraging to hear ministers and the Prime Minister speaking positively about community pharmacies and we will be looking to build on that as we move forward,” it added.
PSNC would not tell C+D when the meetings are scheduled to begin, or how long it expects the negotiations to last.
What can pharmacies expect from the negotiations?
In October 2016, the government imposed a £170 million cut to the sector’s funding in England, spread over a two-year period ending in March this year.
Pharmacy minister Steve Brine told C+D last September that the government intends to “work with PSNC to produce a fair, realistic and sustainable funding settlement for 2018-19 and beyond”. However, it is not yet clear whether this will involve funding returning to pre-2016 levels, further degrees of cuts, or even potentially an increase.
Meanwhile, PSNC has said it will use the negotiations to lay out a new service-based pharmacy contract to the government.