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Sector positive over national minor ailments negotiations

Numark's Mandeep Mudhar says pharmacists must receive "sensible remuneration" for the service

Numark and Pharmacy Voice say PSNC's negotiations for a national service could "empower" the sector

Pharmacy bodies have celebrated PSNC’s announcement that it is negotiating a national minor ailments scheme.

PSNC was “in discussions” with negotiator NHS Employers over a national service, it said yesterday (May 7). The news should come as “no surprise” because it had been a “key policy for PSNC...for sometime”, it said.

Numark director of marketing Mandeep Mudhar told C+D he “sincerely hoped the negotiations were successful”, because a national minor ailments service could "genuinely add value" to the sector. The service should “cover a wide range of minor ailments” and provide “sensible remuneration” for pharmacists, he stressed.

“The service must not be compromised either through inadequate funding or by limiting the range of ailments covered, as this will imply that there is still not sufficient trust in community pharmacy’s capability,” Mr Mudhar added. 

'Empowering' pharmacists

Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott said a national service could “empower” pharmacists to care for a greater number of patients.

“We know that when these schemes are supported by local commissioners and communicated to the public they can be incredibly successful. Not only do they demonstrate to the public the valuable healthcare that community pharmacy can provide, such schemes also have a knock-on effect of reducing visits to GPs and A&E services,” Mr Darracott said.

PSNC said it had “long believed” that the service would “benefit patients, pharmacies and the NHS by giving patients access to advice and treatments without the need for them to visit their GP or another urgent care service". The service would require pharmacies to capture “high quality data to ensure clinical records are adequate and assess the impact of the service”, it said.

NHS Employers told C+D that a national scheme was “one of a number of potential changes” it was considering for 2015-16.

Both PSNC and NHS Employers told C+D they were unable to provide further details on the ongoing negotiations, including whether the national service would be including in the next funding settlement and which ailments it would cover.


How could a national minor ailments scheme benefit patients in your area?

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Z ZZzzzz, Information Technology

Sadly, as usual, I was correct that PSNC snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Don't know why they just don't ask me for my opinion about everything negotiable to save them wasting time on pie-in-the-sky ideas. I retire in 17 months time, perhaps then I'll offer to take on the negotiating task on behalf of PSNC . I couldn't be much worse, could I?

Stephen Walsh, Community pharmacist

I hope that the mistakes made when previous national services have been commissioned aren't repeated. This needs to be new money, not taken from the global sum.

Z ZZzzzz, Information Technology

In areas that had a local scheme the money was often top-sliced from GP budgets. It depended on how much those GPs wanted to give up that part of what they saw as their money whether the remuneration per intervention got much above £1. I feel the same problem has probably been what has stopped a national MAS rolling out so far. If there has been a sea change in attitudes from the GP side then perhaps we will see a national (English only) service not funded from our current Global Sum. But I can rely on the PSNC to snatch a defeat from the jaws of victory - as usual. It would make a change for the PSNC to prove my scepticism wrong this time.

Chris Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

More than happy to see a national MAS but lets ensure we are remunerated appropriately and the scheme is meaningful and of benefit to enough patients. Previous PCTs wanted 1-1 consultations with a member of pharmacy staff in my area for a payment of £1. Derisory and insulting, not surprisingly the scheme was not widely promoted and it failed to make any impact on GP workload. Yes this is good news but we shouldn't get over-excited and accept any terms and conditions that NHS England imposes, this has tended to happen in the past and will lead to service failure again.

Graham Phillips, Superintendent Pharmacist

I assume it'll be a national service so we'll all be paid on a per-intervention basis. The real question we should be asking is why this "no-brainer" of a service has taken this long to introduce? And if this is the limit of our ambitions I pity us. The NHS is desperate for GPs; the NHS was the biggest theme of the election period. The Five Year Forward View is the only game in town and pharmacy, finally, holds the trumps. Please PLEASE let's not settle for a common ailments service when the profession can do SO much more. Its simply scratching the surface of what's possible. Paucity of ambition will lead to paucity of outcome. Lets demand more and do more. Much, much more...

Clive Hodgson, Community pharmacist

Graham makes some good points. The Minor Ailments Schemes that have been introduced piecemeal in the past have been nothing to get excited over. Few offered more than the simple linctus/ Calpol/ Hedrin formulary, often accompanied with complex payment schemes that often you were lucky to break even on. We do need a proper MAS that offers much more but I am not optimistic that the required funding will materialise even though there could be overall savings in the long run. A short term view always seems to prevail when it come to funding. And never forget the powerful GP lobby that always seems to have the dominant say in the allocation these funds. As for Remote Supervision I think London Locum is right. There does seem to be powerful (perhaps unstoppable) forces pressing for its introduction despite the opposition of almost all Pharmacists. Its introduction will be a game changer.

Graham Phillips, Superintendent Pharmacist

Clive The GP lobby is indeed powerful..but there's been a sea change. The NHS is so desperate for GPs that the RCGP and the BMA both now recognise they can't cope unaided with workload. They both believe that pharmacy is a profession whose time has come

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

You need to read articles on remote supervision. Pharmacy is fast approaching the beginning of the end.

Graham Phillips, Superintendent Pharmacist

No.. remote supervision is something I've fought for a decade. It didn't happened then and I see no reason it will do so now, so long as we continue to add value and evidence the value we add

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

We shall see.

SP Ph, Community pharmacist

National ?? Which nation ?? Great Britain or other nations part of the UK. Funny.

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

How will pharmacies be selected? I hope it's not 'one per area'! It's ridiculous how one pharmacy will be commissioned for a service, while another has do it for free, just to hold on to their customers. What I don't understand is, that very same patient would 'cost' the NHS the same if they had to visit the pharmacy receiving the funding for that service.. why can't we all be paid for whatever service we provide?

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

why can't we all be paid for whatever service we provide? Do you mean the Pharmacy or the Pharmacist?

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

why can't we all be paid for whatever service we provide? Do you mean the Pharmacy or the Pharmacist?

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