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Sue Sharpe insists contract negotiations are progressing

Business Progress has been made on negotiating the pharmacy contract although there is still no conclusion on the funding agreements for 2012-13, PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe told delegates at the LPC conference last week.

Progress has been made on contract negotiations despite the lack of a 2012-13 funding agreement, PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe told delegates at the LPC conference in Birmingham last week (November 28).

PSNC recognised contractors' frustration and concern because negotiations with the Department of Health (DH) over the cost of service inquiry (COSI) had not yet concluded, Ms Sharpe said.

"There has been no lack of will to bring negotiations to a conclusion, either in my team or in the department," she added, but it was a "tough time to be negotiating".

"There has been no lack of will to bring negotiations to a conclusion, either in my team or in the department" Sue Sharpe, PSNC

More on contract negotiations

Buying groups urge PSNC to tackle contractors'       frustration

Andy Murdock defends PSNC negotiating performance

Sue Sharpe: Changes to the contract must be gradual

"Their [the DH's] resources are extremely limited and they've been overwhelmed by other urgent priorities, mainly related to the legislation that has reformed the NHS structures."

But PSNC had made progress in its negotiations she insisted, by updating the COSI data to ensure it reflected the "costs and activity of today" and through negotiations on costs included in the funding package that did not refer to nationally commissioned services.

Ms Sharpe expected to reach a conclusion "quite soon", but PSNC had to ensure it took the time needed "to get a fair settlement for contractors that gets the very best deal possible".

Decisions made by PSNC affected committee members as much as the people they represented, Ms Sharpe stressed. "Of course contractors should have means to question the decisions that our committee members make, but they should keep in mind that the decisions that they make affect their own businesses as much as those of the people they represent."

Ms Sharpe also said she had recognised more than a year ago that there was "room for improvement" in the way PSNC communicates with contractors.

"[In the past] many felt that we were being secretive. I understand that, and we recognised over a year ago the need to improve our communications," she said.

Responding to her speech, Independent Pharmacy Federation (IPF) chairman Fin McCaul said PSNC was in a "challenging position given the overall place of the NHS at the moment".

But he said that pharmacy had already "delivered huge savings in terms of category M, but also in terms of efficiency savings and the increase in the number of prescriptions" and that "the challenge for PSNC" is to "get that across to the government".

Watch how the LPC conference unfolded with C+D's exclusive video package.

How could PSNC improve the negotiation process and its communication?

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Farm Assistant, Community pharmacist

just like the generals in the first world war nice and tucked up in a warm bed while the tommies were slaughtered
remember that at the battle of the somme they told them to walk when they went over the top as all the germans would be dead from the bombardment
bit like pharmacy in 2012

Super Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Advert for position of chief NON-negotiator at the PSNC:

Main individual attributes :

-Taking job easy
-non-challenging negotiation skills
-Say 'YES, Sir' to whatever government asks
-Ignore your paymaster's welfare
-Churn out the same message day after day


-Big, fat salary
-Bigger, fatter pension
-?Generous expenses policy

When & where can I apply, please!! can't....the position is always occupied by someone within a tightly knit club & they only nominate from within.

Lance Roth, Manager

I really do not see any value in commenting on anything the PSNC or Sue Sharpe says. They are a law unto themselves that operate under rules first introduced in the Middle Ages.

Paul Mayberry, Community pharmacist

How to weaken your negotiating position "you are stretched so we're not expecting much"!
Never mind the committee members, of the people who actually negotiate with the DH, how many will be financially affected? How many will still get paid? How many will still get a final salary pension regardless of outcome. Please can someone tell me who actually negotiates for the PSNC, and how many years experience and what qualifications do they have? There is a difference between the committee members and the negotiators. And the most expensive decision that the committee members make is to keep the same negotiators in place. Ms Sharpe recognised over a year ago that there was a need to improve communication, we are still waiting! When will she realise that we are getting a poor deal and more importantly how long will it take her to react. How long will we wait before we replace the committee that continue to support her and her negotiating team.

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