National pharmacy negotiators have expressed concern about proposals by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) for the GP and community pharmacy national contracts to be “more aligned”, including joint financial incentives.
The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has defended the principles behind a pharmacy contract based on national provider commissioning and has hit back at comments that the contact has been a “straightjacket” inhibiting change.
“We are very concerned by the supporting comments in which the RPS President [Ash Soni] states that community pharmacy has been straightjacketed by a ‘top down’ national contract,” says PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe.
“The core contractual framework and its funding has been and remains a vital protection. It also ensures that all patients can access a reliable core service…from any pharmacy, anywhere in the country. The PSNC will battle to protect this principle.”
She says the contact has been a “strong enabler” and rebutted the inference that the profession has been reluctant to change.
The PSNC was also cautious about the suggestion in the RPS and NAPC paper — out for consultation until 9 October 2015 — that community pharmacies should move into multidisciplinary care settings.
“Community pharmacy teams often have contact with vulnerable patients who rarely see other health professionals and threatening the network by absorbing it completely into larger care settings could have serious consequences for the ability of some populations to access healthcare,” says Sharpe.
The RPS says it will not comment on the PSNC statement at this stage. The RPS and the NAPC will address responses to the consultation after it has closed.
- Additional reporting was added to this story on 19 August 2015.