The five-year community pharmacy funding deal has been announced with a greater focus on services. While there has been some mixed feelings surrounding the new community pharmacy funding deal, pharmacy bodies seem generally pleased.
Some has raised the issue that flat funding will limit the ability of the community pharmacy sector to invest and innovate but the PSNC did not take the decision to accept the deal lightly. In fact, it took an extensive amount of research and negotiations to secure the protected funding for community pharmacy contractors.
The secured funding may be less than 2015/16 but it is more than the Government originally planned on giving. Perhaps, before making a judgement call, let’s look at all the facts and hear what Richard Brown, Chief Officer of Avon LPC, has to say.
What Does The New Community Pharmacy Funding Deal Entail?
After successful negotiations between PSNC, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England and Improvement (NHSE&I), HM Government agreed to a five-year community pharmacy funding deal. Funding remains at £2.592bn per year for the next five years.
All pharmacies will receive £14 for handling each referral from NHS 111 as of October. There is no cap on the maximum consultations the pharmacy can claim for. Funding has also been made available for pharmacies to offer hepatitis C screening for the next two years. It is only approved for the next two years as no funds have been allocated beyond March 2022.
Payments And New Services
Payments to establishments will end in April 2020 and MUR service will end in 2021. The payments for new services will replace this funding but it must still be confirmed. Some of the pilot programmes include the following:
- Identifying undiagnosed cardiovascular disease
- Smoking cessation referrals from primary care
- An expanded version of NMS to cover more conditions
- Review on discharge medication
- Multiple pilot programmes for point-of-care testing aiming at “support efforts to tackle antimicrobial resistance”
Richard Brown Talks To C+D About The New Community Pharmacy Funding Deal
The new five-year community pharmacy funding deal presents pharmacies in England with a great opportunity to be more financially independent if they succeed in delivering services. There will be some uncertainty and real challenges to overcome but the deal will reward the pharmacy sector for delivering good patient outcomes.
This is not a new concept and is something that pharmacy has talked about for some time. One way or another, LPCs have a massive role to play as well. They need to help pharmacies successfully implement the changes as set out in the new community pharmacy funding contract.
“We can’t expect our pharmacies – which are unbelievably busy and trying to keeping their heads above water – to go through this massive change unsupported.”
Support And Training
It’s vital that LPCs support multiples and independents with easily accessible and cost-effective support and training. Leading up to March 2020 when they implement the new contract, pharmacies and LPCs must prepare for the new way of working. Avon LPC will host numerous workshops and one-to-one support to train pharmacists and their teams. They will also supply online training via VirtualOutcomes and offer advice about the five-year funding contract.
In addition to having a good working relationship with its LPC, contractors should also start building a rapport with their local GP practice and primary care network.
“If a GP practice is going to refer a patient into the pharmacy, they’re also going to want to have a level of trust as to how that patient is going to be cared for.”
You can read the full article here: ‘LPCs must support pharmacies through 5-year funding contract’
PSNC agreed to the new community pharmacy funding deal after lengthy and challenging negotiations. They recognised that many community pharmacies are facing financial pressures and this plan will help the entire sector going forward.
DHSC and NHSE&I agreed to review the deal on an annual basis detailing specific implementation plans and funding of new services. The total funding is almost £13bn over the five years which is significantly more than the Government originally planned.
Simon Dukes, PSNC Chief Executive sums it up quite well:
“For the benefit and future viability of the entire sector, this deal was the best scenario and it brings many key benefits for community pharmacies. It brings us into a better working relationship with our key customers and it gives us a shared vision for our future.
The planned services will enable the sector to transform its offer and I hope community pharmacists will be pleased about the new roles they will be able to offer. Importantly, the deal will better integrate the sector at the heart of primary care: giving community pharmacy a growing and indispensable part to play in delivering the NHS Long Term Plan.”
VirtualOutcomes provide various online training programmes to help pharmacy teams remain informed about most healthcare topics. Please contact us for more information and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.