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The Pharmaceutical Journal
Vol 268 No 7195 p568-572
27 April 2002

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Letters to the Editor

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Clarification, please?

From Mr B. A. Miller, MRPharmS

Your report of the King's Fund meeting on local pharmaceutical services (PJ, 30 March, p426) may have given a false impression about the preliminary LPS work that PCTs?should undertake.

At a Department of Health seminar on 15 March, the Department was represented by Theresa Prendergast and Kevin Guinness. They advised that all PCTs, whether interested in LPS or not, must agree at board level a clear process and selection criteria for LPS. This is because LPS schemes can be suggested by anyone and all proposals have to be given due consideration. There is concern that if an externally proposed scheme?were rejected by a PCT without a proper process in place, the proponent may seek a judicial review of the decision making. PCTs not wishing to accept LPS schemes at present would also need to declare a date or timescale when they would be interested.

The way in which LPS schemes are to be set up appears to require PCTs to to provide some protection?for the status quo. For example, wording the selection criteria or consultation process in such a way as to ensure that the local community pharmacy network is not excessively damaged. This may happen if a dispensing contract, which would not have been granted under the existing rules, is granted as an LPS contract.

PCTs should be setting time aside to agree their processes at an executive meeting as soon as possible after the final guidelines are published and before the end of May, that is, before the June closing date for the first round of submissions.

Brian Miller
Pharmacy Adviser
South Essex Health Authority


THERESA PRENDERGAST, LPS implementation manager, Department of Health, replies:

Guidance on LPS will be issued shortly. Each primary care trust will need to take a decision at board level about whether or not it wishes to use LPS, since the starting point for LPS pilots may be either the PCT taking the initiative or a potential LPS provider making a request to the PCT in the form of an outline proposal that it wishes the PCT to consider. If a PCT takes a decision to use LPS then it should put in place a process for handling outline proposals and working up full proposals, as appropriate.


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