The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has published cost-saving measures to combat the government’s planned funding cuts.
PSNC’s counter proposals are a "short-term alternative" to the funding cuts and set out how community pharmacy could make savings in the NHS prescribing budget.
The combined proposals would produce savings "worth at least as much as the government's proposed £170 million cut to pharmacy funding" in England, it said yesterday (April 25).
They also lay out how the sector could reduce NHS spending on out-of-hours GP services, specifically the emergency supply of medicines. PSNC said this pharmacy service would allow patients requiring medicines to obtain supplies without the need for an urgent prescription.
"A retrograde step"
PSNC branded the Department of Health’s intention to replace the current payment system with a single activity fee for each prescription as a “retrograde step” that would incentivise pharmacies to maximise prescriptions over the provision of other services.
Instead, PSNC suggested developing a funding delivery system that gives higher payments to pharmacies who provide a range of high quality services, such as having a consultation room that meets medicine use review (MUR) requirements or having access to the summary care record.
PSNC first responded to the funding cuts with its long-term clinical vision in February, arguing that the government had “no specific proposals” to broaden the sector’s clinical role. The negotiator's suggestions included increasing pharmacy’s medicines optimisation role and the use electronic repeat prescribing.