News

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 18 December 2015

PSNC announcement: government delivers financial blow to community pharmacy

PSNC, 17 December 2015

In a letter signed by the Director General, Innovation, Growth and Technology, Department of Health and the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, the Government announced a funding cut for community pharmacy up to 6% in cash terms for 2016/17. Sue Sharpe issued a statement in response, deploring this decision which is bound to profoundly damage primary care and urgent care services. A meeting is scheduled in January to agree on a plan to deal with the funding cut.

 

The announcement and Sue Sharpe’s response were reported by Chemist and DruggistThe Pharmaceutical JournalP3 PharmacyDispensing Doctors’ Association and Health Service Journal.

 

Pharmacy Voice’s Chief Executive, Rob Darracott, also responded in an open letter to Alistair Burt acknowledging that the current situation is complex, with many items being discussed and consequences of these discussions yet unknown.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

House of Commons Question, 17 December 2015, NHS: Drugs  

 

Stephen Kinnock, MP:

What assessment his Department has made of the effect on trends in the number of medicines supplied to the NHS of each of the three options set out in its recent consultation, Changes to the Statutory Scheme to Control the Prices of Branded Health Service Medicines, published on 10 September 2015; and if he will make a statement.

 

Department of Health

George Freeman, MP:

Five companies have left the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme since January 2014 as follows:

– Derma November 2014;

– Genus (Thornton & Ross) November 2014;

– Vifor May 2015;

– Baxter October 2015; and

– Martindale October 2015

The Department estimates the financial effect to be a loss of around £10 million in 2015/16.

The Department’s consultation on options to amend the statutory scheme to control prices of branded health service medicines closed on 4 December 2015. The consultation was accompanied by an Impact Assessment which can be accessed:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/460011/Annex_C_Statutory_Scheme_2014_IA.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/460011/Annex_C_Statutory_Scheme_2014_IA.pdf

The Department’s analysis in the Impact Assessment concludes that the options would reduce National Health Service spending on drugs without affecting the use of those drugs in the NHS. The consultation sought views, comments and evidence on the potential impacts and operation of the options to revise the statutory branded prices scheme. The Department is considering the responses received and will respond to the consultation in early 2016.

 

Full Coverage

PSNC announcement: government delivers financial blow to community pharmacy

PSNC, 17 December 2015

In an open letter to PSNC, revealed at a meeting hosted by pharmacy minister Alistair Burt today (17th December), the government has announced that funding for community pharmacy in 2016/17 will be cut by £170m. The cut, from £2.8bn to £2.63bn, is a reduction of more than 6% in cash terms.

The letter is signed by the Director General, Innovation, Growth and Technology, Department of Health and the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer.

The decision to publish the letter is unprecedented, and in stark contrast to the secrecy that the NHS has always insisted on for negotiations in the past.

Read the Department of Health/ NHS England letter.

Sue Sharpe Statement

At a time when primary care and urgent care services are struggling to manage demand, this is a profoundly damaging move. It will deliver a destructive blow to the support community pharmacies can offer to patients and the public. Community pharmacies provide vital healthcare and advice which reduces the burden on GPs and urgent care services and helps the NHS to cope with winter pressures.

The letter speaks of the potential for far greater use of community pharmacy and pharmacists in prevention of ill health, support for healthy living and minor ailments, but almost inevitably the impact of the cuts will force pharmacies to reduce staffing levels and direct more people to GP or urgent care. We remain staggered at the decision by the NHS to abandon negotiations on a national minor ailments service over the summer, a move entirely inconsistent with exploiting the potential identified in the letter.

Pharmacy owners, whose funding has been under pressure and who have been absorbing efficiencies over the last few years, will be incredulous that the Government:

“Believes those efficiencies can be made within community pharmacy without compromising the quality of services or patient access to them.”

There are many excellent business owners in the pharmacy sector, who are incentivised to run their businesses as efficiently and effectively as possible, meeting the needs of their patients and providing support to them, whilst delivering massive savings to the NHS by reducing drug costs.  They will be sceptical about the expertise within the Government that underpins its assertion.

For some months PSNC has been awaiting news from the NHS and we had expected that it would not be positive. In a speech at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Annual Conference in September the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer set out his view that large centralised dispensing facilities could be used to dispense up to two thirds of dispensing volume.

The letter includes a jumble of proposed measures, including centralised dispensing and online services. Reflecting the view of the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer that there are too many pharmacies, the letter says:

“In some parts of the country there are more pharmacies than are necessary to maintain good access.”

The threat to the network is clear but the letter is very short on detail on how the NHS will manage this “clustering” of pharmacies.

The only context in which patient choice is mentioned is to give patients the option of online services. The letter states that the Department will consult on the introduction of a scheme to provide additional funds to ensure that “those community pharmacies upon which people depend continue to thrive”. Following the shambles of the ESPLPS this promise will give little comfort to pharmacy contractors.

PSNC will meet in early January to agree how to deal with this.

 

Community pharmacy faces £170m cut to contractual funding

The Pharmaceutical Journal, 17 December 2015

Community pharmacy contractual funding in England in 2016–2017 is set to be cut by £170m as part of wider efficiency savings in the NHS.

The Department of Health (DH) announced on 17 December 2015 that funding for the community pharmacy contractual framework in 2016–2017 will be no higher than £2.63bn — 6.1% lower than the £2.8bn for this financial year. The reductions are expected to take effect from October 2016.

Details were revealed in a letter to Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) chief executive Sue Sharpe. The DH will consult with the PSNC and other bodies over the next three months.

The government also plans to launch a new Pharmacy Integration Fund “to help transform how pharmacists and community pharmacy will operate in the NHS”, building on clinically focused pharmacy initiatives such as the pilot of pharmacists working in GP surgeries.

In the letter, chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge and Will Cavendish, director general of innovation, growth and technology at the DH, say community pharmacy “has to play its part in delivering the efficiencies” set out in the government’s spending review and the NHS ‘Five year forward view’.

In addition, the government will consult on changes to how community pharmacies operate, with the aim of driving efficiencies and expanding clinical roles for pharmacists.

The letter said that in some parts of England there were “more pharmacies than are necessary to maintain good access”, identifying the 40% of pharmacies in a cluster of three or more within ten minutes’ walk.

As well as the previously announced consultation on widening use of centralised dispensing — known as ‘hub and spoke’ — the DH will consult on new models of ordering and collecting prescription medicines, including online ordering and home delivery.

The government will also consult on a new pharmacy access scheme that would increase funding to pharmacies in some rural or deprived areas.

 

Financial blow dealt to community pharmacy says PSNC

P3 Pharmacy, Sam Healey, 17 December 2015

Community pharmacy has been dealt a “financial blow” says the PSNC. A letter from chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge to PSNC and the director general, innovation, growth and technology, Department of Health detailed cuts to pharmacy funding of 6% for 2016/2017, to £2.63 billion.

“In the Spending Review the Government re-affirmed the need for the NHS to deliver £22 billion in efficiency savings by 2020/21. Community pharmacy is a core part of NHS primary care and has an important contribution to make as the NHS rises to all of these challenges,” says the open letter.

“As well as providing more effective patient and public friendly services, community pharmacy also has to play its part in delivering the efficiencies required by the Government’s recently published Spending Review and to support the need for greater efficiency and productivity as outlined in the Five Year Forward View. “This will involve reductions in NHS funding for community pharmacies in England.

For 2015/16, the funding commitment for pharmacies in England is £2.8 billion under the community pharmacy contractual framework (essential and advanced services). In 2016/17 this funding will be no higher than £2.63 billion. We anticipate that the funding reductions will take effect from October 2016, giving community pharmacies time to prepare for this change.

“These consultation processes are an important opportunity to help further develop the proposals and inform the decisions taken by Department of Health Ministers, which will shape community pharmacy’s role in the NHS in future. We look forward to working together to transform community pharmacy for 2016/17 and beyond, to the benefit of patients and the public.”

Response from Sue Sharpe, PSNC

As part of her response Sue Sharpe said: “At a time when primary care and urgent care services are struggling to manage demand, this is a profoundly damaging move. It will deliver a destructive blow to the support community pharmacies can offer to patients and the public. Community pharmacies provide vital healthcare and advice which reduces the burden on GPs and urgent care services and helps the NHS to cope with winter pressures.

Pharmacy owners, whose funding has been under pressure and who have been absorbing efficiencies over the last few years, will be incredulous that the Government: “Believes those efficiencies can be made within community pharmacy without compromising the quality of services or patient access to them.”

“The letter speaks of the potential for far greater use of community pharmacy and pharmacists in prevention of ill health, support for healthy living and minor ailments, but almost inevitably the impact of the cuts will force pharmacies to reduce staffing levels and direct more people to GP or urgent care. We remain staggered at the decision by the NHS to abandon negotiations on a national minor ailments service over the summer, a move entirely inconsistent with exploiting the potential identified in the letter.

“The letter includes a jumble of proposed measures, including centralised dispensing and online services. Reflecting the view of the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer that there are too many pharmacies, the letter says: “In some parts of the country there are more pharmacies than are necessary to maintain good access.”

“The threat to the network is clear but the letter is very short on detail on how the NHS will manage this “clustering” of pharmacies.”

PSNC will meet in early January to agree how to deal with the issue, says Mrs Sharpe.

 

DDA to scruitinse effect of pharmacy funding cuts

Dispensing Doctors’ Association, Ailsa Colquhoun, 18 December 2015

The DDA is already in contact with the Department of Health over the surprise announcement yesterday that pharmacy funding will be cut by 6% from 2016-17.

The letter, which is signed by the director general, Innovation, Growth and Technology, Department of Health and the chief pharmaceutical officer, also signals a clear intention to reduce the number of community pharmacies.

It says: “In some parts of the country there are more pharmacies than are necessary to maintain good access. 40% of pharmacies are in a cluster where there are three or more pharmacies within ten minutes’ walk. ” PSNC has described the threat to the network as “clear”.

The announcement, made late yesterday afternoon, imposes a cut of £170 million in the funding for community pharmacy in England in 2016-17. This reduces the global sum from £2.8bn to £2.63bn – a cut of more than 6% in cash terms.

Dispensing practices are not specifically mentioned in the letter, but the fear is that funding for medicines supply (reimbursement) in England and Wales will also be affected by the move – as pharmacies and dispensing practices share the same Drug Tariff.

Commenting, DDA chairman Dr Richard West said: “Any changes to dispensing doctors’ contracts must be subject to formal consultation and negotiation between NHS England, the DDA and the BMA.   To date, we have not been made aware that there is any intention to change the contract for dispensing doctors.

“Please be assured that we are already in touch with the Department of Health and NHS England about the implications of this letter for dispensing practices.  As soon as we have more information, we will share it with the membership.”

To assure patient access to pharmacies, the letter points to additional funding for “those community pharmacies upon which people depend”. Stated replacements for the bricks and mortar pharmacy network include developing online services including ‘click and collect’ models, and hub and spoke dispensing.

PSNC has described the shock news as “unprecedented, and in stark contrast to the secrecy that the NHS has always insisted on for negotiations in the past”. CEO Sue Sharpe said: “At a time when primary care and urgent care services are struggling to manage demand, this is a profoundly damaging move. The impact of the cuts will force pharmacies to reduce staffing levels and direct more people to GP or urgent care.

“[The Government] believes efficiencies can be made within community pharmacy without compromising the quality of services or patient access to them. [Pharmacists] will be sceptical about the expertise within the Government that underpins its assertion.”

 

Pharmacy Voice responds to Government’s ‘Putting community pharmacy at the heart of the NHS’ letter

Pharmacy Voice, Rob Darracott, 17 December 2015

Rob Darracott, chief executive of Pharmacy Voice, has responded to an open letter from Government, revealed today at a meeting with pharmacy minister Alistair Burt:

“Announcing a 6% funding cut to community pharmacy from next October over six months is certain to hurt the sector. Many contractors, currently in the midst of the Christmas rush, will be rightly anxious as to how this £170m cut will affect their patients, their businesses, their livelihoods and those of their pharmacy teams and other employees.

“It is a complex picture and there are many items being discussed from hub and spoke dispensing, the role for clinical pharmacy to pharmacy numbers. At this stage we do not have the detail of how these elements can affect the bottom line. What we do know is that the expertise and knowledge of how to achieve change is within the sector, rather than in Whitehall. Community pharmacy has already delivered 4% efficiency savings to the NHS which is proof that we already play a highly efficient part in NHS service delivery.

“We will be working with our member organisations to agree how we best deal with these very challenging decisions. As recognised in the letter, we think it is a constructive step that, for the first time, Pharmacy Voice and other organisations will have the opportunity to engage in this process as statutory consultees. We will work with colleagues across the community pharmacy sector to ensure that the value of the network is retained and that negative, unintended consequences are avoided.”

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 18 December 2015

From Factory to Pharmacy

As part of our mission to build awareness, understanding and appreciation of the vital importance of the healthcare distribution sector, we developed an infographic explaining the availability of medicines. It identifies the factors that can impact drug supply, as well as the measures that HDA members undertake day in, day out to help mitigate the risks of patients not receiving their medicines.

See the Infographic

Apply to become a Member

Membership of the HDA guarantees your organisation:

  • Access to leading policy and industry forums of debate and discussion
  • Invitations to a range of networking industry events organised through the year, including an Annual Conference and a Business Day
  • Representation on HDA working parties, including the Members’ Liaison Group
  • A daily Political and Media Bulletin and HDA Newsletters
  • Access to HDA policy documents and all sections of the HDA website
  • Branding and marketing opportunities
Apply Now

Already a Member?