Five years of fixed funding poses challenge for community pharmacy, say pharmacy organizations

Five years of fixed funding will prove difficult for an “industry already under financial pressure,” pharmacy organizations warned after the government released the latest community pharmacy contract on July 22, 2019.

Despite these fears that the funding level will be frozen at £ 2.59bn per year for the duration of the contract, organizations have all supported the move towards a more clinic-oriented framework.

Claire Anderson, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) English Pharmacy Board, said the move to “a major clinical future” was “absolutely the right direction for community pharmacy”.

Source: Nic Bunce / The Pharmaceutical Journal

Claire Anderson, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Pharmacy Board, said the move to “a major clinical future” was “absolutely the right direction for community pharmacy”

“We have long been asking pharmacists in the community to play an expanded clinical role and there is much to be welcomed in the new contract with focus areas on emergency care, prevention, medication optimization and security, ”she said.

“Referral of patients with minor illnesses who otherwise would have required an appointment with their GP to community pharmacists will be a game-changer for our primary care systems.

“If successful, the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) will support the implementation of the NHS long-term plan and make the most of the clinical skills of community pharmacists through better integration.

The CPCS, which will combine the digital referral service for minor illnesses and the NHS advanced urgent medicine supply service into one service, will be launched from October 2019 and will involve referrals from NHS 111 and the general medicine at the community pharmacy.

Anderson added that with the new contract phasing out Drug Utilization Reviews (MURs) over the next two years, it would be “vital” for pharmacists in all settings to be able to help people to. get the most out of their medications.

“A five-year settlement will provide some certainty for entrepreneurs who wish to plan for the future, although with funding remaining stable and entrepreneurs potentially facing increasing costs, the industry will undoubtedly be keeping a close eye on how Details on services and payments are negotiated annually, ”she said.

The Company Chemists Association (CCA) said additional five-year lump-sum funding would present “significant challenges for what is already a financially strained industry.”

However, Malcolm Harrison, executive director of the CCA, added that he too was “encouraged by the direction of travel provided for in the agreement.”

Source: Charlie Milligan

Malcolm Harrison, CEO of the Company Chemists’ Association, said it was “essential” that all community pharmacies embrace the new emergency care services and engage with primary care networks.

“The CCA and its members have called for a more clinic-oriented contractual framework in recent years,” he said.

“We hope that the CPCS will enable community pharmacists and their teams to continue to refocus the sector on the delivery of care.

He added that it was now “essential” for all community pharmacies to adopt the new emergency care services and engage with primary care networks (PCNs) to ensure the sector’s integration into the NHS.

“There is still a lot to be agreed upon in this settlement. We look forward to working with our colleagues across the industry, through the Pharmacy Services Negotiating Committee, to help develop what the new framework will mean for contractors. “

McKesson UK, owner of LloydsPharmacy, said the deal provided “much needed long-term certainty”.

However, the company said that in light of external pressures in the industry, including high corporate rates and increases in property rental prices, committing to lump sum financing would inevitably limit investment potential. and innovation in the sector.

“We look forward to an ongoing dialogue with the government and NHS England to ensure that the full potential of community pharmacy is realized in helping to realize the long-term vision for health care in the community.”

Following the announcement, Keith Ridge, chief pharmaceutical officer, said the contract “provides the accessible and convenient health care the public truly wants while providing a more rewarding clinical career for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.”

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health, added that pharmacists are “an integral part” of community health and that the new framework aims “to help our amazing pharmacists unlock their full potential, by helping them deliver more. health advice and supporting more patients as part of our long-term long-term plan for the NHS ”.

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