C+D readers have warned that a planned national minor ailments service for England must reimburse pharmacists fairly.
PSNC revealed last week that it was negotiating a scheme with NHS Employers, and readers commenting on the C+D website said the organisations must learn from the mistakes of local schemes.
Community pharmacist Clive Hodgson said local initiatives had often been lumbered with “complex payment schemes”. “We do need a proper minor ailments scheme, but I am not optimistic that the required funding will materialise even though there could be overall savings in the long run,” he said.
A reader posting as Chris Pharmacist said he was “more than happy” to see a national service as long as “we are remunerated appropriately”.
Commissioners had tried to pay pharmacists in his area £1 to conduct consultations, he said. “Not surprisingly, the scheme was not widely promoted and failed to make any impact on GP workload.”
A pharmacist posting as AA responded that money for local minor ailments schemes had often been “top-sliced from GP budgets”, which had kept payment for pharmacists low. “Whether the remuneration per intervention got much above £1 depended on how much GPs wanted to give up what they saw as their money,” he said.
"This needs new money"
Community pharmacist Stephen Walsh said it was important not to “repeat the mistakes of previous national services” pharmacists had been funded to deliver. “This needs to be new money, not taken from the global sum.”
Graham Phillips, owner of Manor Pharmacy Group (Wheathampstead) Ltd, said commissioning the national service was a “no brainer”, but it was “only scratching the surface of what’s possible”. “Please let’s not settle for a common minor ailments service when the profession can do so much more,” he added.
PSNC told C+D yesterday (May 11) that it was unable to provide further details about the ongoing negotiations, including how much pharmacists would be paid for delivering the service.