‘Big wins’ should be identified from new pharmacy contract proposals, RPS says

While it supports the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee’s published revisions to its proposals for the community pharmacy contract, the RPS says a clear strategy is required for them to be delivered successfully.

Sandra Gidley

Pharmacy negotiators should identify “three big wins” to focus on in proposals for the new community pharmacy contractual framework, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has said, as the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) publishes its revised suggestions for the contract.

The PSNC’s updated proposals for a new, service-based contract for community pharmacy include a national emergency hormonal contraception service and suggestions to commission smoking cessation services from community pharmacy, as well as NHS health checks, blood pressure measurement and atrial fibrillation identification.

The revisions were discussed at a PSNC meeting held on 9–10 October 2018.

Sandra Gidley, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Pharmacy Board, said she was “fully supportive” of the PSNC’s proposals but said that a strategy was needed, alongside the NHS ten-year plan, in order for them to be delivered successfully.

“We need to decide on three big wins [within the proposals] which can be delivered at pace and scale,” she said, adding that knowing where to go for certain services can be confusing for patients, and that this needed to be considered in the contract negotiations. 

According to the PSNC’s meeting summary, at the time that the contract plans were initially developed in 2017, NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care saw commissioning of such services as local, not national, priorities. The decision to add the new proposals was made after work to develop the NHS long-term plan and discussions with NHS England officials highlighted a new focus on both of these areas.

In its initial plan, the PSNC drew up proposals to enhance the role of pharmacy in the management of patients with long-term conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, by way of a care plan service.

The PSNC said its care plan service proposals, which still form part of its proposals for a new contract, incorporated elements of the medicines use review service and new medicines service, and also clearly articulated the way in which community pharmacy services were helping to address NHS targets, such as reducing waste and improving patient safety.

Alastair Buxton, director of NHS services at the PSNC, said: “The PSNC has put a number of specific service proposals to the government in the past, for example around minor ailments advice, as a counter proposal to planned funding cuts in 2016, and around long-term conditions management in early 2017.

“The PSNC reviewed its most recent proposals in October 2018 in response to changing national priorities as identified by [Matt Hancock], the new secretary of state for health and by NHS England. For example, public health services had previously been a local focus, but the new health secretary has made prevention a key national priority for the NHS so we wanted to look at what could be done nationally.

“The urgent care additions are there following increased interest in potential national commissioning expressed by NHS England,” said Buxton, adding that the PSNC was keen to begin negotiations for 2019/2020 “as soon as the government is able to do so”.

Gidley did express some concerns around the proposals to pilot the management of minor injuries and said that the proposals should be “concentrating on where [pharmacists] add value around medicines”. 

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, 'Big wins' should be identified from new pharmacy contract proposals, RPS says;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20205734

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