The Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that community pharmacy fees and allowances will not change from April 2018 as part of interim funding arrangements for 2018/2019.
The arrangements have been put in place to protect current funding distribution until the DHSC and NHS England are in a position to begin negotiations with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) on community pharmacy funding for 2018/2019.
In the meantime, funding levels will stay the same as in 2017/2018, with no changes to the Single Activity Fee (SAF), which will remain at £1.29, Establishment Payments or monthly Pharmacy Access Scheme (PhAS) payments.
The PSNC had previously presented proposals to the DHSC to include a care plan service, with pharmacists supporting patients with long-term conditions, as part of a new community pharmacy contract.
“We hope to commence negotiations with the NHS for 2018/2019 community pharmacy funding very shortly, and we hope this will include discussion on PSNC’s proposals for the development of community pharmacy services,” said Sue Sharpe, chief executive of the PSNC.
“As yet we cannot speculate on the negotiations, but we are continuing to press the benefits and value of community pharmacies to the NHS.”
Two changes will be made by NHS England to the gateway criteria for Quality Payments. These changes are that opening hours on NHS Choices must include Bank Holidays and also the requirement for the pharmacy to be able to send and receive NHSmail should be from a shared NHSmail account.
NHS England has also confirmed that the community pharmacy seasonal influenza vaccination advanced service will be recommissioned for 2018/2019.
In addition, both the DHSC and NHS England have expressed a keenness to start discussions with the PSNC about moving forward with phase 4 of the electronic prescription service. The PSNC said it expects a pilot will start in autumn 2018.