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Wrong time for PDA's specialist pharmacist contracts, says PSNC chief

Practice The sector needs to look at the practicalities of the PDA's road map for England, says PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe, who raised concerns about funding

Proposals to create specialist pharmacists could work well but now is the wrong time to ask NHS England for long-term investment, PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe has told C+D.

Ms Sharpe cautiously backed proposals from the Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA) to contract specialist pharmacists to take full responsibility for patient care, in an exclusive interview with C+D on Sunday (October 20).

But she stressed that the sector would need to look at the practicalities of the PDA's road map for England, submitted to the government earlier this month. Funding pressures would prove "quite an obstacle" to splitting the sector into specialist clinic pharmacists and patient-facing pharmacists, she warned.

This is not a good time to ask the NHS for upfront investment with a long-term return, said PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe

More on the PDA road map

Pharmacy network could ‘fall apart' if specialist contracts adopted

Monitor adds weight to case for national minor ailments scheme

Government could save millions under PDA plan for specialist pharmacist contracts

The PDA says its model could generate overall savings of £140 million for the NHS, but it would require an initial investment of £498m.

"It's a whole new model... and it's not a good time to ask for upfront investment with a long-term return," Ms Sharpe argued. Any bids for new funding would need to be backed by strong evidence, Ms Sharpe added, as there was no money available to take risks.

"I think NHS England is looking at proposals for dramatic changes in the way we deliver care, but the evidence behind it has to be robust," she said.

This principle would apply to all future funding of pharmacy services, Ms Sharpe added. "I think it all comes down to the quality of the evidence," she stressed. "If I was a business, I would be saying: ‘Should I invest in this? When will I get my return?"

Ms Sharpe revealed that PSNC was keen to "have a dialogue" with the PDA about its proposals and stressed that the two organisations were not in conflict.

Could the PDA's proposals work?

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Jide Opaleke, Locum pharmacist

How about a vote of confidence in this forum on:

1. PSNC representing community pharmacist on contract negotiation.

2. Sue Sharpe (a non pharmacist) with no direct stake professing on what is good for pharmacists.

I have no confidence in both scenarios.

I think Community pharmacy needs a new body that will negotiate a new contact to reflect the clinical role and outcomes related responsibilities of the pharmacist to whom the contract is awarded independent of the shop premises. The dispensing supply role to be supervised by a pharmacist under a separate arrangement but rationalised and deregulated from control of entry but allowed to operate according to normal trading condition without interference with contractor abilities in making purchase profits such as category M etc. I believe such reorganisation of the contract will enable the proper apportionment of income relative to professional or business input. For too long and for the perceived benefit of protection of control of entry, community pharmacists effort have been undervalued and we are unable to object to any remuneration package offered for fear of losing the financial cushion of control of entry. We need to snap out of this dreamland because that control will give way sooner or later as further savings is sought by NHS. Practice allowance and payments for professional services should be used to support pharmacists' professional responsibilities to the NHS and meeting positive health outcomes not to prop up business losses or be seen by contractors as just business income except in owner managed pharmacies where the professional services is provided by the owner. Body corporates should be allowed to profit from business savings but not at the expense of the professional delivering the services.

Clinical Pharmacist, Hospital pharmacist

Will sue ever look for a positive output for pharmacy? All she had managed is poor poor reimbursements

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

Both Sue Sharp and her husband have historically had a role in developing community pharmacy and on balance seem to be holding the profession back from progressing. I think that she needs to go and the sooner the better.

Nadir Khan, Community pharmacist

why will she go? she gets paid for doing nothing.if any of us was getting paid over £100k for doing nothing (and just getting bad comments from few pharmacists); then we will be the same. She will be sacked on the day she starts to speak on behalf of pharmacy.I have never heard her fighting for pharmacy but always asking pharmacist to ''do more''. At the moment we fund PSNC and she sits in negotiation and says yes to all the cuts which is loved by DOH hence her job is secure. I don't think she will ever resign such an ideal job where do nothing and get paid.Only last week i phoned PSNC and asked them all to resign because of their poor performance.

Nadir Khan, Community pharmacist

Sue and PSNC is nothing but a burden for pharmacy.there funding from pharmacy must be stopped.they work for govt so should be paid by govt not pharmacy.all they are doing is working to kill pharmacies and independent contractors.

Amal England, Public Relations

Sue, please show some professional insight and meet the PDA to learn about how pharmacy could move forward. You should forfeit some of your salary and pass it on to a pharmacy related charity as it seems the PDA is doing part of your job. By the way Sue, did you realise now is not the time for you to open your mouth?

Shabs A, Community pharmacist

I agree, well said Amal.

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