Layer 1

PSNC taking new service-based contract into negotiations with DH

Alastair Buxton: Proposed contract is designed to reflect 'Murray' review recommendations
Alastair Buxton: Proposed contract is designed to reflect 'Murray' review recommendations

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) will lay out plans for a service-based pharmacy contract in its upcoming negotiations with the government.

The negotiator is "starting a phase of discussions with the Department of Health (DH) and NHS England to present [its] ideas", director of NHS services Alastair Buxton told delegates at a pharmacy seminar in London yesterday (January 16).

PSNC confirmed to C+D today that negotiations have not started yet, but the contractual framework it will be submitting has been decided upon.*

The negotiator is looking to “develop a derivation of the current community contractual framework” which will “meld bits of advanced services like the new medicine service (NMS) and medicines use reviews (MURs)” into it, Mr Buxton said.

This would require a "fundamental change" to funding models, ensuring that they "support local commissioning of services", he stressed.

Requires a new "funding structure"

Mr Buxton told the Westminster Forum that the current contractual framework does not [clearly] "tick the boxes for what patients and the NHS needs".

The current contract risks dissuading local commissioners, who may think, "do I want to commission these people, because they're still getting paid for every item they dispense?", he added.

"[The payment] is the driver to dispense prescriptions, so we need to sort that out, because that is a fundamental problem for us."

However, he stressed a new contract would "require a new funding structure". "Hopefully [we] will be discussing some of these draft ideas with the rest of you very shortly," he told delegates.

Using the 'Murray' review

The proposed contract is a step towards achieving the “excellent proposals” of the 'Murray' review, Mr Buxton said. The review – published in December 2016 – made a number of recommendations, including that “MURs should evolve into full clinical medication reviews”.

Mr Buxton said PSNC does not want the review's "ideas and concepts to be lost", even if NHS England has slightly "brushed it under the carpet".

NHS England announced in October last year that it would not publish its long-awaited response to the review, as it felt the findings had "by and large" been taken into account.

*PSNC has since clarified that its proposals for initial discussions with the DH and NHS England were discussed in its committee meeting last week.

Does the community pharmacy contract need to change?

Mohammed Patel, Community pharmacist

It's funny how such much hot air is blown about services by people who don't have a clue what pharmacists really do. They talk about services as if we are scratching around in the dirt looking for things to do. Maybe these people should do a few weeks in a pharmacy to see what is really going on. 

Brian Austen, Senior Management

Is this the big legacy that Sue Sharpe will leave you all? If they get this wrong, which they just might do based on past performance, WITHOUT consulting with all interested parties equally/fairly represented it could be an unsalvagable disaster for independent community pharmacy and all those Pharmacists and support staff that work in it. You might want to start making pre-emptive exit plans now!

Farhat Ahmed, Locum pharmacist

Shouldn't the PSNC start a phase of discussions with contractors frist, before they start discussions with the DOH. What is it that they are planning on discussing with the DOH, am I the only one that thinks that I should know this defore the discussions begin. I am not interested in having the PSNC negotiate the advanced services, such as MUR & NMS, into the contract. at this moment in time I know exactly what I am being paid for these services and any other additional service that I provide. Instead of the PSNC trying to mess up the services that are already agreed, why don't they concentrate their efforts on ensuring that all contractors are given the opportunity to provide additional services through pharmacies, in all areas of the country and not just in locations such as Worcester or Leicester. Leicester pharmacists have been allowed to provide flu vaccination services to children, why was this not available as a national service? All contractors need to voice concerns about this matter otherwise the transparent fees that we have for services such as MUR & NMS will end up in the same MUDDY water whereby there is no clarity in payments, after this there will be a gradual decline in the payments without the possibilty of being able to identify for which service the payments have been reduced. THE PSNC SHOULD MAKE IT CLEAR TO THE CONTRACTORS EXACTLY WHAT THE PROPOSALS ARE BEFORE THE PROPOSALS ARE DISCUSSED WITH DOH OR NHS AND THAT DOES NOT MEAN JUST DISCUSSIONS WITH BOOTS OR LLOYDS OR ANY OTHER BIG BOYS OUT THERE.





SydBashford Sold&Retired&DeRegistered, Community pharmacist

“The payment is the driver to dispense prescriptions”!! Our own bodies really believe that we perversely dispense increased prescriptions for extra profit, like we create those prescriptions !! Come on! 

SydBashford Sold&Retired&DeRegistered, Community pharmacist

You know what’s coming...... less for dispensing, a promise of potential new services with the money saved... more work for less....again....

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

I think clinical services are the future, oh wait.......

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

The PSNC is the contractors’ mouthpiece, it is no friend of employee pharmacists, their aim is to maximise remuneration for contractors irrespective of the pharmacists’ workloads. 

Dave Downham, Manager

Given recent results you can't say they are maximising profits for contractors by any stretch of the imagination. While pharmacy is in the private sector, money will drive the actions of the businesses. If DH want the private sector to provide services, it needs to have a £ sign attached, hence the farce that is quality payments.

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

If they can't even maximise renumeration/profits for contractors who pay subs just imagine the contempt they have for employee pharmacists!!

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Mr Downham, you are confusing the purpose of the PSNC with their performance. The fact that Sue Sharpe’s ineffectiveness had been monumental has no bearing on the purpose of the PSNC. Additionally, there is a difference between renumeration and profits, the PSNC negotiates renumeration only, not profits.

Dave Downham, Manager

...and there i was thinking their aim was to maximize ss's remuneration, in which case they have been phenomenal!

Dilip Shah, Community pharmacist

It seems positive to do this but you must ensure that DT discounting scale and prices are also negotiated as contractors are loosing monies every month.Errors of 1-2% on payments made to contrators means we have lost millions in payments! over 10 yrs period.


Priyesh Desai, Superintendent Pharmacist

PSNC must consult the contractors before negotiating anything as from previous experience they usually screw it up!!

Sue Per, Locum pharmacist

A short extension to your statement., Not ony contractors, but also the pharmacists, at the "coal face" of pharmacy, forced to manipulate the present volume led system to maximise the profits for these "slave master" contractors at the expense of quality of services.. Although this may theoretically possible, as the PSNC negotiates for the contractors, they must take into account the view of the pharmacists and paymaster to ensure that "sweat shops" are not encouraged and quality and standard of service is not compromised. 

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Quality and community pharmacy should not be used in the same sentence. Quantity yes but never ever quality. 

ifzal ahmed, Community pharmacist

You sholuld be ashamed of yourself.  Following your last comment I do not consider you as a fellow proffessional. 

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Hmmmm. Your profession is in a downward spiral. You may want to speak to the likes of  boots/RPS/GPhC who have systematically destroyed it over a number of years. 

Also you do know the contract is mainly rewards quality and NOT quality, hence the desperate counting of those green bits of paper each month-more green paper more money. Not so much mention of quality there my friend.

Job of the week

Pharmacist Manager
Midlands, Cheshire & Dorset
Salary dependent upon experience