The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has said it is considering “working with the NHS on a pilot” that would see clinical pharmacists working in community pharmacy.
The potential pilot was discussed during the PSNC’s quarterly meeting on 6–7 February 2019 as a “potential action” for 2019/2020, alongside other tasks such as “seeking a multi-year contract that integrates community pharmacy into primary care networks [PCNs]”.
The papers state that the PSNC will potentially work “with the NHS on a pilot to model how clinical pharmacists could work in community pharmacies”.
The PSNC told The Pharmaceutical Journal that, while the pilot itself is still being discussed internally and it could not provide further details on it, NHS England has confirmed to the negotiating committee “in recent weeks” that under the new GP contract “community pharmacy contractors or potentially local pharmacy provider companies could be the employer of clinical pharmacists”.
The plans follow the new five-year GP contract, published on 31 January 2019, which allocated £38,000 to PCNs to hire a clinical pharmacist in 2019/2020, with proposals to employ between five and seven clinical pharmacists within each network by 2024.
The contract document said: “Each network will be able to decide which provider organisation employs the staff. This could be a single lead practice, a GP federation, or a community, mental health or an NHS trust (or voluntary sector organisation), if the network and that party agree.”
But the PSNC said NHS England “confirmed that the information in the recent GP contract document is not an exhaustive list of provider organisations which could employ staff working across the network”.
After the launch of the ‘NHS Long-Term Plan’ — which first outlined plans for pharmacists to be employed into PCNs covering up to 50,000 patients — James Kingsland, president of the National Association of Primary Care, said PCN pharmacists are “best placed” to work from community pharmacy.
Malcolm Harrison, chief executive of the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA), said he was “pleased that the PSNC committee has begun to consider how best to engage with the ‘NHS Long-Term Plan’”.
“This demonstrates the willingness of the entire sector to work with the new primary care systems that will be introduced, which offer opportunities to improve the care and services that we provide to the public and patients,” he added.
“The CCA and its members are supportive of the development of new models of care that will enable the sector to help the NHS as it continues to find new ways to deliver the best possible care for patients.”
- The article was amended on 22 February 2019 to reflect the wording in the meeting papers that the PSNC is considering working with the NHS on the pilot.