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Pharmacy minister wants ‘sustainable’ funding settlement for 2018-19

Mr Brine: I am determined to see our pharmacy reforms bed down

Pharmacy minister Steve Brine has revealed the government’s intention for “sustainable” funding for the sector, in a letter to C+D.

C+D editor James Waldron wrote an open letter to Mr Brine in July, setting out three priorities for the minister, including “working with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) to produce a funding framework that is fair, realistic and sustainable”.

In his response, posted to C+D on August 31, Mr Brine wrote: “Let me assure you that as we come towards the end of the 2016-18 funding settlement, it is our intention to work with PSNC to produce a fair, realistic and sustainable funding settlement for 2018-19 and beyond.”

It is the first time the new pharmacy minister has referred specifically to the future of funding for community pharmacies in England – drastically cut in December 2016 – since he took on the role in June.

“Community pharmacy is, in many ways, the front line of the NHS, and I am determined to see our reforms bed down and improve the service offered to the public by making far better use of pharmacists’ valuable clinical skills,” Mr Brine continued.

“A can-do sector”

Labelling community pharmacy a “can-do” sector, Mr Brine said he “values enormously the vital service that pharmacies – and pharmacists – provide”.

“As we move forward with our reforms, we see an enhanced role for pharmacists, in which they are more integrated within the wider health system,” Mr Brine wrote.

“We want to encourage more people to use their local pharmacy, with local pharmacists playing a stronger role in keeping people healthy, which in turn reduces the demand on local GPs and hospitals.”

“To date, we have not made use of the tremendous skills and knowledge that pharmacists have as effectively as we might.”

“As you will be aware, we are working on a range of proposals, on which we will consult widely, which aim to rectify this and enable pharmacists to make an even more effective contribution to maintaining the health of the population as part of the primary care workforce.”

“A personal priority”

In response to Mr Waldron’s plea for him to “throw his weight” behind the decriminalisation of inadvertent dispensing errors, Mr Brine said it is “a personal priority for me, and I am resolved to getting it sorted as soon as possible”.

He repeated this decriminalisation pledge in his speech to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society conference on Monday (August 4).

Read Mr Brine’s full letter – including his thanks to C+D for “all you do to maintain the very obvious sense of community” across the sector – here.

Read C+D editor Mr Waldron's reaction to Mr Brine's letter here.

What do you make of Mr Brine's response?

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

"To date, we have not made use of the tremendous skills and knowledge that pharmacists have as effectively as we might"

Step one funding cuts...

S Morein, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Sustainable to contractors means maintaining excessive profits and the consequent outrageous goodwill values associated with even a small volume contract. Whereas to Patients and tax payers sustainable means access to high value medications, costly procedures and short waiting lists ratherthan a contractorhaving the latest Range Rover.

Mike Hewitson, Superintendent Pharmacist

Thanks Keith. 

Dave Downham, Manager

Do you use a stepladder to get up to your high horse?

S Morein, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

I appreciate my messages are often those that contractors do not either wish to hear or broadcast; the truth often hurts those with much to hide. Pharmacists undetake an often unaporeciated wonderful professional service helping so many in society. It is just a tragedy that greed and the vested interests of contractors whether by their unwarranted excessive profits or the  command economy protections afforded by contract limitation is so detrimental to the future success and development of such an illustious profession.

Simon MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

'' sustainable '' means more cuts- see  '' sustainability and transformation plans'' as an example

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

I don't want to appear cynical but I wonder, when he says a"fair settlement", fair to who?

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