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PSNC: 'No idea' if NHS will approve minor ailments service

Sue Sharpe: NHS England abandoned plans for a national service at the eleventh hour

The negotiator's chief executive Sue Sharpe is uncertain whether an England-wide service will be considered during the next round of funding negotiations

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has “no idea” if a national minor ailments service will ever be commissioned, chief executive Sue Sharpe has revealed.

The negotiator has not begun talks with NHS England about the 2016-17 funding settlement, and does not know if the possibility of a national service will “come back into negotiations”, Ms Sharpe told the local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) conference in Birmingham yesterday (November 4)

NHS England "abandoned" plans to commission a national minor ailments service at the “eleventh hour” of negotiations for the 2015-16 settlement, Ms Sharpe told delegates. This could be interpreted as a sign that the commissioning body is not "really engaged in sensible transformational change", Ms Sharpe suggested.

It is "immensely frustrating” that "old prejudices" are "blocking change we really need to optimise use of community pharmacy", she said.

PSNC had "reflected" that "with hindsight" it would have used terminology to emphasise to NHS England that the proposed minor ailments scheme would be "an advisory service”, as opposed to one of the existing “supply services", Ms Sharpe said.

"Don't know what the future holds"

In response to a question from Devon LPC project pharmacist Mark Stone about whether the sector has "missed the chance" for a national service in England, Ms Sharpe said: "The simple answer is I just don't know what the future holds."

NHS England would be “mad” not to use pharmacists' skills to relieve pressures on GPs, because it has “no other easy solution”, she stressed.

Ms Sharpe urged LPCs to continue to push for 
local minor ailments services. “The more we can get commissioning undertaken at local level, the more it will help when it comes to a national service,” she added.

NHS England revealed in July that it had not commissioned a national service for 2015-16 because it could not agree on the “price, specification and service model” with PSNC.


How confident are you that NHS England will commission a national minor ailments service?

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London Locum, Locum pharmacist

She has no interest in tough negotiations on your behalf. Her six figure job is safe as houses.

Kirit Shah, Community pharmacist

Negotiating on part of pharmacists/pharmacy contractors?!! We simply get more and more tasks to do with no real increase in income or value.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Spot on and it's not as if the tasks are of any clinical relevance.There is no pharmacist representation as they couldn't give a sh*t. Supposedly fighting for independents?! The big guys are ok as they have government in their pocket.

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

"old prejudices" - why not name them and use the media to apply pressure to remove them - stop pussyfooting around.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist


Dave Downham, Manager

Well if you don't know, Ms Sharpe, who does? You're supposed to be the chief negotiator!

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Exactly. Also, why we have not held negotiations for 16/17??? No wonder we will miss things at the last moment, which concern us the most. Wait till next announcement and Sue will say we tried hard

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