Judicial review of community pharmacy cuts ‘not relevant’, says PSNC chief

Simon Dukes, new chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, has promised a more collaborative approach, but has yet to meet pharmacy minister Steve Brine.

Simon Dukes, chief executive of the PSNC

Community pharmacy’s chief negotiator has promised a more “collaborative” approach to negotiations with the government, adding that the ongoing judicial review appeal at the High Court would not affect his approach to talks.

In his first interview with the Pharmaceutical Journal, Simon Dukes, chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), said he has a “very different style” to his predecessor, although he admitted that he had yet to meet pharmacy minister Steve Brine.

Dukes, who was previously chief executive of the fraud prevention service Cifas, would not say that it was a mistake for the committee to pursue a legal challenge to government cuts to the community pharmacy budget — which went to appeal earlier this year — but he did add that faced with the same decision, he was not sure if he would have launched it.

“Whatever the outcome of the appeal, that’s not going to affect the way I approach negotiations. We need to move on now and start talking and looking at how we can get the best possible deal for community pharmacy,” he said.

“I can’t say that if I was in Sue [Sharpe]’s position back in 2016, we’d being doing the same thing. But the fact is that it’s a reality.”

On his approach to the forthcoming negotiations over a new services-based contract for community pharmacy, Dukes said this had to be delivered soon owing to the pressures on the sector.

He added: “I know the pressures that independent pharmacies are under in terms of trying to keep making ends meet, the pressures on family, mental health, sickness and stress. That makes us even more determined to focus on the best possible deal that we need to get for community pharmacy, and that the services that we’re talking about are deliverable.”

Source: Julia Robinson

Sue Sharpe, who left the PSNC at the end of 2017, launched the judicial review against the pharmacy budget cuts alongside the National Pharmacy Association

Sue Sharpe, Dukes’s predecessor, who left her role of PSNC chief executive at the end of 2017 after 16 years in the job, brought the legal case against the cuts alongside the National Pharmacy Association. The result of the appeal against the High Court’s ruling on the judicial review is yet to be announced.

Dukes said: ”Sue Sharpe has moved on and we have very different styles. My style is very much collaborative — I want to work with government. I want a fresh approach in terms of our relationship to make sure that we are working with them for the benefit of patients and government.”

Click here to read the full interview.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, July 2018;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20205172