As part of the pharmacy contract, the government wants community pharmacies to work closely with Primary Care Networks (PCNs). Now, as a result, they have included it as part of the Pharmacist Quality Scheme. However, if pharmacies want to receive payment, they need to work with other community pharmacies and appoint a Pharmacy PCN lead to represent their collaborative views.
Under the new Pharmacy Quality Scheme, pharmacists can get funding by providing details of the PCN they belong to and who their appointed lead is. Community pharmacists working within any PCN must nominate a lead pharmacist (PCN lead) and this will allow them to access a portion of the available funds under the Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS).
Recap Of The Pharmacy Quality Scheme
The first scheme was introduced in December 2016 as part of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF). Since then, there has been a new Pharmacy Quality Scheme for the remainder of 2019/20 as part of the five-year deal CPCF.
Under the new scheme, launched in July 2019, a total of £75m is available to pharmacies. They will earn a maximum of £128 for each point or a minimum of £64 for each point if all pharmacy contractors achieve maximum points. Pharmacists will also collect 12.5 points if they provide the following:
- name of the PCN they belong to
- name and pharmacy details of their appointed pharmacy PCN lead
Related Document: ‘Primary Care Networks: A briefing for pharmacy teams’
What Does The Pharmacy Quality Scheme Contract Entail?
The actual contract states that: “On the day of the declaration, the pharmacy must be able to demonstrate that their pharmacy, and all of the other pharmacies within the PCN footprint who wish to engage with a PCN, have agreed on a collaborative approach to engaging with their PCN.
This approach must include agreement on a single channel of communication by appointing a named lead representative for all of the community pharmacies who wish to engage with their PCN in the PCN footprint.”
Appointing A PCN Lead
The Pharmacy PCN Lead must provide their name to the Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC) in which the PCN falls. They also need to have demonstrable evidence that they have started the engagement process with the PCN. This can be achieved by either:
- making initial contact with the Clinical Director for the PCN either by contacting them through correspondence (post/email)
- arranging a meeting with them or by meeting them
Considering the local focus of Primary Care Networks, the ideal PCN lead should be someone who works within a community pharmacy. They should also work within the PCN area on a regular basis providing services to patients. If there is no such person, they may have to choose a Pharmacy PCN Lead who has an existing relationship with a pharmacy within the PCN area.
What Qualities Should A Pharmacy PCN Lead Have?
At this year’s Pharmacy Show in Birmingham (6 October), four LPC leaders shared their thoughts on the top five qualities of a PCN lead. They are as follows:
- Open to working in new ways
Read the full article here: ‘The five top qualities every community pharmacy PCN lead should have’
Key Responsibilities Of A Pharmacy PCN Lead
The Pharmacy PCN Lead will be vital in building lasting, quality relationships between community pharmacy and the PCN. PCN leads must provide leadership and promote collaboration for community pharmacies within the PCN to develop and implement an approach to PCN engagement.
They need to work closely with key staff members of other pharmacies in the PCN to discuss, understand and describe how community pharmacy can support the PCN. This will help them achieve local targets which are aligned to national NHS priorities.
They are responsible for managing any conflicts of interest and maintain the confidentiality of any PCN information shared with them. A Pharmacy PCN lead must develop relationships and work closely with the following stakeholders:
- PCN Clinical Director
- Other Pharmacy PCN Leads
- Clinical leaders of other primary care, health and social care providers
- Local commissioners
- The Local Medical Committee and the LPC
Considering that this role involves working with the PCN Clinical Director, an ideal Pharmacy PCN Lead should be a pharmacist or pharmacy technician. While they can choose another individual, this person must have the necessary knowledge of pharmacy practice to confidently and successfully undertake the role.
They should also have the support of a community pharmacist who they can turn to for advice on professional matters when necessary. The PSNC has issued guidance to pharmacy contractors about the Pharmacy PCN lead role which you can find here.
To offer further support for community pharmacy and other healthcare providers, VirtualOutcomes has online training modules covering different topics. These include PCNs, PQS and a summary of the current Pharmacy Contract. Please visit our website for more information and to access the training. You will also have access to our Accredited Health Champion Training which is one of the requirements for achieving Healthy Living Pharmacy Status.