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National pharmacy contracts

Pharmacy minister meets PSNC boss, but no word on contract negotiations

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee said Simon Dukes’s meeting with Steve Brine was the beginning of a new collaborative relationship with the Department of Health and Social Care.

Simon Dukes, chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), has met with pharmacy minister Steve Brine, but the PSNC would not say whether this marked the beginning of negotiations over a new community pharmacy contract.

The PSNC’s Twitter account posted a picture of Brine and Dukes on 4 September 2018, with a caption stating they had discussed how community pharmacies could help support the NHS, including the prevention agenda and urgent care.

The PSNC drew up proposals for a new community pharmacy contract in January 2018, which included an enhanced role for community pharmacy in the management of patients with long-term conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension. It said at the time that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) had indicated that it was willing to consider the plans.

But in May 2018, MPs in the All-Party Pharmacy Group was told that contract negotiations had yet to begin.

Then, in August 2018, the PSNC and the National Pharmacy Association lost their final legal challenge to fight community pharmacy cuts that were introduced by the government in 2016. Following the Court of Appeal ruling, the PSNC said it expected negotiations for a new 2018/2019 community pharmacy contract to “begin shortly”.

In a statement following the meeting between Dukes and Brine, the PSNC said: “We were very pleased to meet with the minister and to confirm that both [the] DHSC and PSNC are committed to having a new collaborative working relationship. The minister is very supportive of pharmacies and we used the meeting to explore some of his priorities and challenges, and to outline the benefits and great potential of community pharmacy.

“PSNC has discussions, which can include negotiations on specific issues, with officials at DHSC and NHS England, as well as with ministers and others, on an ongoing basis. Our ambition is to work with the government on a multi-year plan to help develop community pharmacy services for the benefit of patients, the NHS and pharmacies.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20205412

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