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PSNC: at least two years for national minor ailments scheme

Practice NHS England is only beginning to map out its primary care strategy and budget planning may take until 2015, PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe has warned

NHS England is "very unlikely" to agree to a national pharmacy minor ailments scheme for at least another two years, PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe has warned.

There were clear benefits to both patients and the health service but NHS England was only just beginning to map out its primary care strategy, Ms Sharpe told an all-party pharmacy group (APPG) meeting on reducing the use of urgent care services on Tuesday (October 29).

Work on the strategy would take the government "well into next year", Ms Sharpe explained, and NHS England would then have to move around budgets for new services, which was likely to take until 2015.

PSNC is continuing to stress the benefits of a national minor ailments scheme to politicians and commissioners, says chief executive Sue Sharpe

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Wales launches Choose Pharmacy service for common ailments

Success of Scotland's walk-in services supports case for national minor ailments scheme in England

Ms Sharpe named the health service's focus on localism as a further challenge. But PSNC was continuing to stress to politicians and commissioners that a consistent, national service would have a better chance of changing patient behaviour and establishing pharmacy as the first port of call for minor conditions, she said.

"By making treatments for common and minor conditions more accessible to patients and supporting them to manage their own conditions, we can reduce their need to use GPs or other urgent care services and, in turn, ease some of the pressure on those services," Ms Sharpe argued.

PSNC was helping LPCs secure locally commissioned services with its template minor ailments business case, she added, and was working with them to gather evidence that supported a national service.

Speakers at the APPG meeting agreed a national service would be the only way to successfully publicise pharmacy as a destination for minor ailments, as opposed to GPs or A&E.

APPG chair Kevin Barron said pharmacy minor ailments services currently meant "different things in different places". "It's about changing culture and not having a national platform clearly holds us back," he argued.

Mr Barron's comments were echoed by Paula Wilkinson, chief pharmacist at Mid Essex CCG, where they have branded the local minor ailments service Healthcare on the High Street. She said the variation in pharmacy offerings must be addressed.

Ms Wilkinson also made the case for pharmacies being able to offer a wider range of medication. "Rather controversially, we've identified four antibiotics we feel it would be useful for pharmacies to be able to give," she told the meeting.

"That would avoid [patients] going to A&E or a GP because we've learned there are quite a few occasions where pharmacists refer them on, only for them to come back for a prescription for exactly the same medicine the pharmacist would have supplied if they had been able to do so," Ms Wilkinson said.

Earlier this month, health regulator Monitor added weight to calls for a national pharmacy minor ailments scheme.

How would your patients and pharmacy benefit from a national minor ailments scheme?

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Should be done for free by community pharmacies. We get paid more than enough money. Should be part of essential services.
90P an item x 300 = £270

add on superised consumption/OTC trade/murs/FLU VACC/ and selling conny and your away!!!!!!!

kaching dinga lingling

Nadir Khan, Community pharmacist

Another admission of PSNC failure. Will there be pay freeze for PSNC for two years as well? Come on Sue i want to hear some good news from you.Ever since i qualified,i found PSNC always giving us news of cuts and failures.The other trick they do is a big cut and a small increase after LENGHTY negotiations with overall loss to pharmacy.When will cost of service inquiry be implemented? It has been over two years now. If it was of no use then why DOH and PSNC agreed and spent a lot of money on it? Only reason it is not being implemented is because it will lead to DOH paying more and PSNC not pushing for it as it will make their master(DOH) unhappy and hence danger to their job.

Clinical Pharmacist, Hospital pharmacist

It's time
Sue stopped coming up with the same repetitive nonsense

Pharmacist Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Will the new scheme include UTIs? Chest infection? Can we give inhalers? Give us something good to deal with apart from OTC self limiting ailments which do not always require treatment

Leroy Jackson, Community pharmacist

Well done PSNC.
Sterling work as usual.


I bet after years of negotiation, it, It's the usual simple linctus, headlice, constipation, paracetamol ; you can guess the rest....


Pharmacist Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Lol Del Boy I totally agree. Worms. Headlice. Cough. Calpol. Verrucas. Constipation. Diarrhoea.




Pharmacist Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Well we've been waiting for 4 years. Whats another 2 years?

Grumpy Pharm, Community pharmacist

As much as this is a no brainer, and I'm no PSNC apologist, from the budgeting logistics alone if the DH said yes tomorrow it would be 2015/16 at the earliest before it could kick in.

This years budget is spent, next years budget is probably already allocated , so is as good as spent. This leaves us maybe 9 months to agree the common service spec to use , get it costed and then budgets sorted on a national level i.e. find the cash, then allocate that budget down to local NHS. Sadly the NHS is too big to change as fast as we would like.

Harnek Chera, Community pharmacist

Ridiculous. We have been providing a minor ailment service I believe since 2006 in Heart of Birmingham tPCT with great effect and I know numerous other PCTs were running them back then. What kind of negotiating body would not have sought to gather evidence and make a case in over 7 years? Typical PSNC. Mind you in contrast to Birmingham, Coventry PCT launched the same service but in their infinite wisdom capped it at 6 patients per month per pharmacy. Can you imagine? "Sorry you are the 7th patient we've had this month so we can't treat you"

Steve Jeffers, Community pharmacist

Oh come on Sue Sharpe.
Minor Ailments schemes across parts of England have shown their value to both patients, GP's and the wider healthcare community for many years.
Their success is despite lack of wider public awareness of schemes. Try explaining why a patient in one area can have "free" paracetamol suspension for their baby but someone living in another CCG area cannot when we are supposed to have a NATIONAL health service.
There are numerous template schemes in existence PSNC. Just pick one and tell the DH and NHS England how much we can save them in monetary terms and how we can keep patients away from A&E depts. at the weekend.
We need a national minor ailments scheme now, not in 2 years and with the coming winter crisis in A&E we should have had a ready made solution to give to NHS England which could have been implemented within 2 months not 2 years.
Its up to the whole pharmacy community to make a noise about this ,as we cannot rely on the PSNC achieving anything for us anytime soon.
P.S. whatever happened to the late summer, early autumn contract settlement?

Jennifer Richardson, Editorial

Last we heard about the delayed funding settlement was Sue speaking at the Avicenna conference last month:
She did not confirm when it would be agreed, saying only that it was "getting closer" and that it was better to "get it right than get it quick".

Harnek Chera, Community pharmacist

We've been hearing that line about getting it right rather than getting it quick for ages. Unfortunately no one in recent memory can remember the PSNC getting anything right. Looks like the only success they have had was getting a pay rise and increasing their own pensions whilst the whole industry is financially going down the pan.

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