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National pharmacy contracts

Scottish government 'scoping' changes to community pharmacy contract

Scotland needs a new community pharmacy contract, as the existing one has “come to the end of its useful life”, Rose Marie Parr has said.

Simon Wright Photography / The Pharmaceutical Journal

Rose Marie Parr, chief pharmaceutical officer for Scotland, said the basis of the agreement between community pharmacy and the government “predates the health service” and needs “modernising”

The community pharmacy contract in Scotland has “come to the end of its useful life”, with changes to health service legislation a possibility, the chief pharmaceutical officer has said.

Speaking at the first ever pharmacy Celtic Conference, held in Edinburgh on 26 March 2019, Rose Marie Parr said the basis of the agreement between community pharmacy and the government “predates the health service” and needs “modernising”.

She told The Pharmaceutical Journal that contractual arrangements for community pharmacy have been updated since it was initially put in place, “but it needs to be altered a bit more, so I think it’s come to the end of its useful life”.

While the talks were still in the “scoping” phase, she said changes should allow local communities to be more “directive” about the services offered by pharmacies.

The ambition to improve “planning and delivery of pharmaceutical care” was first set out in the government’s nine-point plan for pharmacy in Scotland in August 2017, which announced plans for “a new contracting framework for the provision of NHS pharmaceutical care that will give NHS boards the power to enter into contracts for the provision of NHS pharmaceutical care services”.

Parr said that following further “scoping work” with the NHS, Community Pharmacy Scotland and the Scottish government, any changes would be put out for formal consultation if legislation needed to be changed. 

She added that Brexit “has been a step back for that, but we know that’s our path”.

The comments come after the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee said that it hopes to start contract negotiations for community pharmacy in England “before Easter” 2019, after the government promised the talks would start “shortly”.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206343

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