News

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 16 February 2016

Countdown begins to place barcode scanners in all pharmacies

C&D, Beth Kennedy, 15 February 2016

Martin Sawer, on behalf of HDA UK, welcomes the publication of the Falsified Medicines Directive to create a sustainable solution to securing the European supply chain. The Association’s Executive Director explained to Chemist and Druggist the impact on the different links of the supply chain, from wholesalers to pharmacists.

 

Burt distances himself from ‘3,000 pharmacy closures’ prediction

The Pharmaceutical Journal, Harriet Adcock, 15 February 2016

Following previous comments in which he suggested that up to one in four pharmacies may close as a result of the 6% pharmacy funding cut, Alistair Burt stated that he had no expectation in terms of closures. He added that the sector would be changed but that this change will be shaped by the pharmacy profession itself.

 

PSNC to hold contractor meetings on implications of Government proposals

Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, 15 February 2016

PSNC announced it will hold two meetings for community pharmacy contractors to discuss the implications of Government proposals for the future of community pharmacy.

 

Pharmacy Voice responds to Government’s plan for community pharmacy

Pharmacy Voice, 15 February 2016

Pharmacy Voice has issued a response to the Department of Health’s plan for the community pharmacy. The industry body expressed concerns that the plan is driven by costs savings with no regards for efficiency and patient safety.

 

Pharmacists’ fears over future persists after funding cuts

Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis, 15 February 2016

At the Sigma conference in Jamaica, concerns over the future of the community pharmacy were dominating the agenda.  Mike Dent, the chief financial officer at the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), expressed his doubts over the possibility of increasing efficiencies without compromising the quality of services.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

 

There is no Parliamentary coverage today.

 

Full Coverage

Burt distances himself from ‘3,000 pharmacy closures’ prediction

The Pharmaceutical Journal, Harriet Adcock, 15 February 2016

The government is not making any presumptions about community pharmacy closures which could result from its proposals for the sector, according to Alistair Burt, minister of state for community and social care.

“I have no expectations in terms of the number of closures that might happen,” Burt told The Pharmaceutical Journal on 11 February 2016. “We just don’t know what the situation will be. There is no government plan for any closures; it is not a directive.”

Burt’s comments follow reports that the minister, who has responsibility for pharmacy, predicted that up to one in four pharmacies could close, as many as 3,000 in total, as a result of the 6% funding cuts to the community pharmacy contractual framework, which are due to take effect in October 2016.

He said that the government was “setting the overall envelope” within which pharmacy would operate and that there were “opportunities within that envelope”.

“That pharmacy will change is highly likely,” he said, “but how it will look is up to the pharmacy profession.”

Burt insisted that the £2.63bn on offer to fund the community pharmacy contract, down £170m from £2.8bn, was still a “substantial” amount and that expenditure for the health service as a whole was increasing.

“That increase has to be funded through efficiencies,” he said. “Yes, there will be implications but that is what the consultation is about — how to make the best use of the money.”

Burt made his comments following a visit to Copes Pharmacy in Streatham, south east London, owned by Ash Soni, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. Ahead of the visit, Soni said that the main focus would be to show the minister “all the elements of care that the pharmacy delivers” and to demonstrate that “the staff are all trained or being trained to enhance their skills and increase the offer to the public”.

Left to right: Sandra Gidley, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, and staff from Copes Pharmacy, Justina Navickaite, health champion and trainee technician, pharmacist Evelyne Nukajam and medicines counter assistant Pat Jeary, with Alistair Burt and Ash Soni

“The reduction in funding will reduce the ability to invest in this way,” says Soni. “Particularly if pharmacies like mine are unable to easily access the proposed integration fund to maintain and enhance what we already do.”

But Burt pointed out that many of the services being provided by Copes Pharmacy were funded through primary care allocations and other funding streams, and that the details of both the integration and access funds were still being worked out.

“I’ve already made it clear that I want to play an active part in encouraging commissioners to fund services through pharmacy,” the minister said.

The Department of Health will consult on its proposals with pharmacy and patient organisations until 24 March 2016. The proposals include a range of measures to make efficiency savings while extending clinical roles for the profession.

Don’t include full coverage from chemist and druggist

 

PSNC to hold contractor meetings on implications of Government proposals

Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, 15 February 2016

PSNC has today announced it is to hold two meetings, one in the West Midlands and one in London, for community pharmacy contractors to discuss the implications of the recent Government proposals for the future of community pharmacy. Both meetings are open to all contractors – booking in advance is essential.

During the meetings key figures from PSNC will discuss the government’s plans, PSNC’s strategy, the campaign in response to the government’s plans and the action that contractors can take. NPA colleagues will also join us to speak about the NPA response and campaign support.

Both meetings are open to all contractors and there is no charge for these events, but all attendees must register in advance. Book your place now using the links below:

West Midlands – Wednesday 24th February at 7.30pm

London – Thursday 10th March at 7.30pm- booking opens 16th February

 

Pharmacy Voice responds to Government’s plan for community pharmacy

Pharmacy Voice, 15 February 2016

Pharmacy Voice has responded to the Department of Health’s letter outlining changes to the community pharmacy sector as part of the official process outlined in the stakeholder briefing released last month.

The response, which explores the consequences of the proposed cuts, also represents the combined views of the NPA, AIMp and CCA – the three main trade bodies representing community pharmacy.

Claire Ward, Chair of Pharmacy Voice, said:

“We are eager to work with the Government in a constructive way, and recognise this opportunity to change the sector for the better. However, it seems clear that the cuts being proposed are based not on what the Department of Health deems efficient or safe, but rather on what HM Treasury wishes to save.

“The proposals for delivering efficiencies we’ve seen are at a very early stage of development and will not provide any meaningful savings prior to the imposition of the cuts. So it is hardly surprising that pharmacies across the country are speaking out against these rash cuts, being imposed with little notice and with scant regard for the consequences.”

Remarking about next steps, she said:

“Pharmacy Voice, alongside its members, will continue to keep the dialogue going and will make the damaging consequences of these proposals on public health absolutely clear to the Government.”

 

Pharmacists’ fears over future persists after funding cuts

Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis, 15 February 2016

The Sigma conference in Jamaica is playing host to the ongoing frustrations and concerns of community pharmacists in the UK as they continue to wrestle with fears over their futures in the wake of stringent government funding cuts.

An audience of pharmacists, drug company executives, pharmacy politicians and representative bodies at the Moon Palace resort in the town of Ocho Rios congregated to debate the what-ifs and likelihoods of minister’s plans to slash pharmacy funding by £170 million for 2016-17.

Mike Dent, the chief financial officer at the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), the body representing pharmacy interests in its talks with NHS England, exacerbated pharmacists’ concerns when he said there was little chance the government, which has put its plans out to consultation, would perform a U-turn.

Comparing community pharmacy’s situation with that of junior doctors in England whose strikes have so far failed to sway the government, Dent said: “The government is in a really tough mood. Jeremy Hunt (the Health Secretary) hasn’t done a great job keeping the NHS off the front pages of the newspapers but I think this imposition of the contract for hospital doctors is a very clear statement of intent.

“This doesn’t feel like something they are going to back away from easily. If at all. On the one hand you’ve got ‘we want some funding cuts” and on the other ‘we want an investment in a more clinical service.’ I don’t see how they balance.”

Dent went on to criticise the government’s encouragement of online click and collect purchasing of medicines which forms part of its drive for efficiency savings, insisting “I don’t see how you can have a more clinical role with click and collect.”

On the 6% cut in pharmacy funding, Dent said: “This comes on top of a real efficiency squeeze because (pharmacists) will be expected to absorb any volume increases and any cost inflation, particularly wages because in April (20)16 we will see the national living wage come in.”

He added: “From a pharmacy cost point of view, it’s a disaster. Let’s be clear, 6% is a huge understatement of the squeeze that you’ll be facing.”

Delegates’ concerns had not been alleviated by a video message from Alistair Burt, the social care minister, who said the government had proven its support for community pharmacy to play a central role through its Integration Fund, which is designed to aid pharmacy’s integration into the NHS.

“We are consulting on how best to introduce a pharmacy Integration Fund that will help enable clinical pharmacy practice in a range of primary care settings,” he said.

“This will help transform how pharmacists, their teams and the community pharmacy will operate in the NHS. The Fund is set at £20 million for 2016-17 rising by an additional £20 million each year. By 2021 we will have invested £300 million in the Fund.”

Dent said with a touch of sarcasm: “No doubt you’ll be very relieved that Alistair Burt believes you can make that efficiency without compromising the quality of service that the public has access to.”

The PSNC was not spared from criticism. One pharmacist, Amish Patel from Kent, said: “(Look) at the junior doctors where their contract is going to be bulldozed on to them, the same sort of thing seems like it’s happening (to pharmacy). It seems like the funding cut is going to happen. It’s going to be bulldozed on to us.

“No disrespect, but it almost makes the PSNC’s job role defunct. What’s the point of a negotiating body if there is no negotiations going on?”

Sue Sharpe, the PSNC chief executive speaking via video link, said: “I think that’s unduly pessimistic. If you look at the junior doctors, they have shifted the government quite a bit.”

She added: “I don’t think that all we have now we should take as what we’re going to get. What’s being proposed is a bigger threat to community pharmacy than we have ever had before and what we have got to do is rise up and talk about the value of the sector.

“With the alignment and togetherness we’ve got we can really make a difference. Even if your pessimism is well founded, you’ve got to fight.”

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 16 February 2016

From Factory to Pharmacy

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