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HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 23 February 2016

EU vote will bring ‘little change’ from pharmacy’s viewpoint

Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis, 22 February 2016

John D’Arcy, managing director of Numark, has stated that pharmacy would be unaffected by leaving the EU. He stated that most legislation is derived from Europe, and would become part of the conditions of entering into a free trade agreement.

Further coverage on proposed Government reforms to community pharmacy can be found on C&D here and here, on P3 Pharmacy here and the Royal Pharmaceutical Journal here.

Parliamentary Coverage

House of Commons Written Answers, Pharmacy, 22 February 2016

 

Steve McCabe, MP: What plans his Department has to review plans to introduce a click and collect service as a result of P2U service failings over the 2015 Christmas period?

 

Department of Health

 

Alistair Burt, MP: All pharmacies should have a business continuity plan in place which covers not being able to provide a full or any service.

NHS England, in conjunction with the General Pharmaceutical Council, worked urgently with Pharmacy 2 U once it became apparent that this pharmacy was failing to deliver its normal service over the Christmas period. They ensured that Pharmacy 2 U instigated several actions in addition to the business continuity plan that the pharmacy already had in place. The ability to ensure that, where necessary or as requested by the patient, prescriptions were diverted to another pharmacy of the patient’s choice was made significantly easier by the fact that the majority of the prescriptions dispensed by Pharmacy 2 U are sent to them via the Electronic Prescription Service.

Patient safety was the number one priority at the immediate time. Pharmacy 2 U resumed its normal service, as publicised, on 11 January 2016, and there now continues to be a review of the events that led to this situation to ensure that the review of community pharmacy in England is fully informed and national lessons can be learnt from this unexpected and unfortunate event.

 

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House of Commons Written Answers, Pharmacy, 22 February 2016

 

Steve McCabe, MP: What changes his Department plans to pharmacy funding; and what assessment his Department has made of the effect of those changes on small independent businesses?

 

Department of Health

 

Alistair Burt, MP: Community pharmacy is a vital part of the National Health Service and can play an even greater role. In the Spending Review the Government re-affirmed the need for the NHS to deliver ??22 billion in efficiency savings by 2020/21 as set out in the NHS???s own plan, the Five Year Forward View. Community pharmacy is a core part of NHS primary care and has an important contribution to make as the NHS rises to these challenges. The Government believes efficiencies can be made without compromising the quality of services including public access to medicines. Our aim is to ensure that those community pharmacies upon which people depend continue to thrive and so we are consulting on the introduction of a Pharmacy Access Scheme, which will provide more NHS funds to certain pharmacies compared to others, considering factors such as location and the health needs of the local population.

Our proposals are about improving services for patients and the public and securing efficiencies and savings. A consequence may be the closure of some pharmacies but that is not our aim.

 

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House of Commons Written Answers, Pharmacy, 22 February 2016

 

Greg Mulholland: What estimate he has made of the number of (a) pharmacy closures and (b) job losses caused by planned reductions to the community pharmacy budget?

 

Department of Health

 

Alistair Burt, MP: Community pharmacy is a vital part of the National Health Service and can play an even greater role. In the Spending Review the Government re-affirmed the need for the NHS to deliver ??22 billion in efficiency savings by 2020/21 as set out in the NHS???s own plan, the Five Year Forward View. Community pharmacy is a core part of NHS primary care and has an important contribution to make as the NHS rises to these challenges. The Government believes efficiencies can be made without compromising the quality of services including public access to medicines. Our aim is to ensure that those community pharmacies upon which people depend continue to thrive and so we are consulting on the introduction of a Pharmacy Access Scheme, which will provide more NHS funds to certain pharmacies compared to others, considering factors such as location and the health needs of the local population.

Our proposals are about improving services for patients and the public and securing efficiencies and savings. A consequence may be the closure of some pharmacies but that is not our aim.

We are not able to assess which pharmacies may close or the number of people who may lose their jobs, because we do not know the financial viability of individual businesses or the extent to which they derive income from services commissioned locally by the NHS or local authorities or have non-NHS related income.

 

Full Coverage

 

EU vote will bring ‘little change’ from pharmacy’s viewpoint

Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis, 22 February 2016

 

John D’Arcy, the managing director of Numark, has insisted the decision on whether the UK leaves the European Union or not will bring about “little change” as far as pharmacy is concerned.

 

As David Cameron continues to make his case to MPs on why the UK should remain in the EU, the pharmacy profession has largely been silent on the issue, although D’Arcy chose to break ranks and voice his opinion.

 

“From a pharmacy perspective, there will probably be little change. Health is already devolved with each European country doing its own thing depending upon the individual systems and incentives for driving and paying for professional practice,” he said.

 

“However, virtually all pharmacy legislation is derived from Europe. And even if we leave Europe, most of the legislation will still apply because it will become part of the conditions of entering into a free trade agreement if we get that far.”

 

He added: “Accordingly, things like the Falsified Medicines Directive will not go away and leave us with the implementation nightmare we already face. There might also be problems associated with getting hold of parallel imports or European employees should we leave.

 

“The coming weeks will provide clarity on what the deal struck with Europe means in reality and an improved understanding of the respective cases for the ‘in’ or ‘out’ options.

 

“Numark will be studying the emerging detail with a view to giving the most appropriate advice to members.”

 

The UK will vote on whether or not to stay in the EU on June 23.

 

Numark survey reveals patients will be the ultimate loser in cuts

P3 Pharmacy, Sam Healey, 19 February 2016

 

A survey of Numark members following the news of the proposed cuts, found that 62% are ‘Likely’ or ‘Highly Likely’ to stop prescription delivery and other ‘free’ services, with an inevitable impact on patients.

 

A Numark member said: “We will become busy fools if we continue to provide free services. Regrettably, it’s the patient who will suffer once again as pharmacies make further efficiencies on behalf of a clueless DH and PSNC.”

John D’Arcy, managing director of Numark, said: “The survey results make for stark reading and demonstrate the invidious position most contractors are in. Our members don’t need me to say that now is not the time to cut staff or cancel investment in their businesses, they know their situation and have given these matters plenty of thought.”

“However, I would urge that contractors review how they can increase their income before they make cuts that will weaken their competitive situation. The ultimate loser is, of course, the patient—and the most vulnerable ones at that.”

Staff and locum costs are the main focus for savings in independent pharmacies as a way of dealing with the reduction in funding. Eighty per cent of respondents said that they were likely or highly likely to reduce existing staffing costs with a further 83% likely or highly likely to reduce their locum cover and fees. The majority of members who returned the survey will review incomings as well as outgoings; 59% stated they were highly likely to work on increasing script volume and 50% highly likely to increase income from services. However, several noted that with reduced staffing it would be difficult to achieve.

 

Union urges pharmacists to contact MPs ahead of Commons debate on pharmacy funding cuts

The Pharmaceutical Journal, 22 February 2016

 

Community pharmacists are being urged to contact their MP to draw attention to the impact of the proposed 6% cut to the pharmacy budget before the House of Commons debates the issue in Parliament on 23 February 2016.

 

A template letter and briefing document has been prepared by the Pharmacists’ Defence Association Union (PDAU) for pharmacists to send to MPs by email.

 

At the same time, the PDAU has called for a parliamentary inquiry into the impact of the cuts, which it says should be put on hold until the outcome of the inquiry is known.

 

The moves by the PDAU come as it released details of its response to the government’s proposals for the community pharmacy sector, which are out for consultation.

 

The union suggests that front-line pharmacy services could be protected and savings found elsewhere by reforming the medicines supply chain — specifically the profits that independent wholesalers accrue and the profits made by other companies that are “vertically integrated” with multiple pharmacies.

 

John Murphy, general secretary of the Pharmacists’ Defence Association Union (PDAU)

John Murphy, the PDAU’s general secretary, says that savings could be found in the medicines supply chain

 

“We believe that the government, in diminishing patient-facing services, is looking in the wrong place to secure these [savings],” says PDAU general secretary John Murphy in a letter to health minister Alistair Burt opposing the cuts.

 

“Cutting the number of community pharmacies using a crude method which renders them financially unviable is not the answer. Instead, savings may potentially be found in the supply chain.”

 

The PDAU says there is a need for “stronger government oversight and control” of wholesaler profit margins.

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 23 February 2016

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