HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 11 May 2016

DDA warns of wholesaler cost hikes in hub and spoke world

11 May 2016, Dispensing Doctors’ Association, Alisa Colquhoun

 

In response to the Department of Health consultation on hub and spoke dispensing the DDA has warned that wholesalers may increase delivery prices if hub and spoke dispensing becomes more common. Other concerns voiced by the DDA relate to the availability of medicines to patients in urgent situations and the ability to provide tailored medicine advice.

 

DH plans for pharmacy mergers could reduce ‘clusters’

9 May 2016, Chemist and Druggist, James Waldron

 

The government is considering plans to reduce “clusters” of pharmacies by making it easier for two businesses to merge if one closes. PSNC stated that the proposal is not specifically designed to prepare for the closure of pharmacies as a result of the planned funding cut, but in any scenario where two pharmacies may merge.

 

NHS England recommissions national flu service

9 May 2016, Chemist And Druggist, Beth Kennedy

 

NHS England announced the Community Pharmacy Influenza Vaccination programme has been recommissioned for 2016-17. Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services at PSNC, commented that “This early announcement of recommissioning will help pharmacy contractors prepare for provision of this important service and is to be welcomed.“

 

The Pharmaceutical JournalThe NPAP3 PharmacyPharmacy Biz and PSNC also report that the pharmacy flu vaccination scheme has been recommissioned.

 

The Pharmaceutical Journal and Pharmacy Biz both highlight the importance of collaboration between general practice and community Pharmacy to improve the vaccination scheme.

 

Daily Insight: Six steps to jumpstart the Carter review

9 May 2016, HSJ

 

The Health Service Journal emphasises that the Carter Review is the most important piece of work done to identify potential efficiencies in the NHS, but states that it is not moving fast enough. He has set out six ways to deliver the Carter review faster concluding that it should be the number one priority of the services national leadership.

 

UK pharmaceutical industry to support the UK remaining in Europe

9 May 2016, ABPI

 

The Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has expressed its support for the UK to remain in Europe. It believes that the pharmaceutical industry benefits from the EU for funding, research and development. The article further states that Brexit would create licensing difficulties.

 

P3 Pharmacy and Chemist and Druggist also reports on the ABPI’s decision to support the remain campaign.

 

DH releases slides from stakeholder event

28 April 2016, PSNC

 

The Department of Health held a stakeholder engagement event on its consultation on the future of community pharmacy. This gave stakeholders (Pharmacy Voice, RPS, Local Government Association, GPhC, APTUK and National Voices) an opportunity to discuss the DH proposals including the Pharmacy Integration Fund, the Pharmacy Access Scheme, quality and services.

 

 

Parliamentary Coverage

House of Commons, Oral Answers, Department of Health: Biosimilar Medicines, 10 May 2016

 

Dr Tania Mathias (Twickenham) (Con):

3. What steps he is taking to encourage the use of biosimilar medicines in NHS treatment. [904939]

 

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Life Sciences (George Freeman):

The biosimilars—the generic versions of biologic products—represent part of the extraordinary range of new drugs that are becoming available for the benefit of our patients. The Government are committed to ensuring access to drugs for UK patients at the highest level of quality and safety, and to ensuring that effective biosimilar medicines are available. That is why we are leading, not just here but in Europe, the regulatory regime through the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency as the lead assessor and rapporteur. In the NHS, the chief pharmaceutical officer, Keith Ridge, and the commercial medicines unit in my directorate have put together a framework agreement for biosimilars, and through the medicines optimisation programme we are looking specifically at biosimilars, and we have set up a national biosimilars medicines group.

 

Dr Mathias:

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. May I ask also that where NHS pharmacists are involved in oncology clinics, there is a higher prescribing of biosimilars? What steps are in place to encourage more oncology clinics to involve NHS pharmacists at the start of the patient’s treatment journey?

 

George Freeman:

Not surprisingly, my hon. and, in this field, learned Friend makes a very important point. We have set up a number of initiatives to that very end: to make sure that our pharmacologists and pharmacists in the system are alert and have all the information they need to increase the prescription of biologics and the generic versions, biosimilars. I will happily write to her, describing a range of initiatives that are in place which we are pursuing to that end.

Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire) (Con)

One of the issues around the adoption of biosimilars and, indeed, driving down the NHS drugs budget generally is the lack of local analysis of patterns of prescribing against efficacy and cost. I wonder whether the Minister would consider encouraging clinical commissioning groups to appoint analytical pharmacists, who could look at this equation and recommend different prescribing decisions on a local basis.

 

George Freeman:

My hon. Friend makes a really interesting point. It goes to the heart of the work that we are doing at the moment with CCGs, in terms of use of data to map and track prescribing practice across the system. I will happily pick up the point about ensuring that biosimilars are incorporated in that.

 

Full Coverage

DDA warns of wholesaler cost hikes in hub and spoke world

11 May 2016, Dispensing Doctors’ Association, Alisa Colquhoun

 

The DDA has warned that wholesalers could increase delivery prices if hub and spoke dispensing becomes more common.

 

In its response to the Department of Health consultation on relaxing the terms of hub and spoke dispensing in England, it says: “The way that the wholesalers work will change; [they] are likely to charge more to deliver to practices.” This will require extra funding for dispensing practices, said the DDA’s chief executive officer Matthew Isom.

 

Responding to the consultation, which proposes to allow hub and spoke dispensing between legal entities, and closes on May 17, the DDA says there must be a level playing field.

 

The current scope of the consultation excludes dispensing practices, despite dispensing practices having a 7% share of all NHS prescriptions. “This discriminates against rural patients and cannot be acceptable. If hub and spoke is to become the delivery model of choice, then a way must be found to include these providers of rural services”, Mr Isom notes.

 

Other concerns relate to the effect on the availability of medicines to patients in urgent situations and of providing tailored medicines advice. The response also reminds the DH of the documented earlier problems affecting supplies by Pharmacy 2U.

 

The assumed savings from implementing hub and spoke dispensing also take no account of the contractual minimum staffing levels in pharmacies. Mr Isom said:  “We believe few, if any, small independent pharmacies will use hub and spoke, there being no obvious need or incentive to do so.” The DDA also documents a lack of robust published evidence to show the incremental safety of hub and spoke dispensing.

 

The consultation also includes proposals to add the prices of medicines to dispensing labels. The DDA’s response questions the safety of adding more, potentially confusing information to dispensing labels, and whether price information may deter patients, particularly, the elderly, from obtaining required medication. There are also cost implications for practices of implementing new dispensing IT, it notes.

 

On the specific question of labelling of medicines supplied under patient group directions and monitored dosage systems, the DDA says that pictures of medication should be included, where possible, to aid compliance. There should also be a warning that medicines become unlicensed, once they are stored outside the original pack.

 

The consultation information, including the Department of Health’s response/s (when available), have been placed in the integrated medicines providers’ forum, and in the dispensary management zone.

 

 

NHS England to recommission flu vaccination service

9 May 2016, PSNC

NHS England has announced it will recommission the Community Pharmacy Seasonal Influenza Vaccination programme in 2016/17. The terms and fees for the recommissioned service will remain the same as in 2015/16. Further guidance will be issued to contractors once legislation and associated documents have been updated to take into account the recommissioning of this service.

Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services, PSNC, commented:

“This early announcement of recommissioning will help pharmacy contractors prepare for provision of this important service and is to be welcomed.”

Visit the flu vaccination section of the website for further information on the service that was initially commissioned in 2015/16.

 

 

NHS England extends pharmacy flu vaccination scheme

9 May 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal

 

Community pharmacists in England will be commissioned for the second year running to offer a seasonal influenza vaccination service to patients in at risk groups, NHS England announced on 9 May 2016.

 

The move follows the success of the 2015–2016 scheme delivered as part of the national immunisation programme and will be offered as an advanced service under the national community pharmacy contract.

 

The decision comes despite opposition from some GPs and claims that the pharmacy scheme has led to fragmentation of the vaccination service[1].

 

Community pharmacists vaccinated 240,259 patients in their pharmacies in 2015–2016 out of a total of 10 million vaccinations given as part of the national programme, according to NHS England.

 

Keith Ridge, chief pharmaceutical officer for NHS England, says: “Our flu vaccination service made it possible for nearly a quarter of a million more people last year to receive a vaccination in their local community pharmacy of choice. We are pleased to confirm that we will continue to offer this more convenient option to the public during the year ahead.”

 

The decision was welcomed by national community pharmacy negotiators. Alastair Buxton, director of NHS services for the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), says: “This early announcement of recommissioning will help pharmacy contractors prepare for provision of this important service and is to be welcomed.”

 

The PSNC will offer guidance to contractors once more details are known, but NHS England has already confirmed that the terms and fees will remain the same as for 2015–2016.

 

During winter 2015–2016 pharmacists were paid £9.14 for every vaccine given, including a payment of £1.50 to cover the costs of training and clinical waste disposal. The price of the vaccine was also reimbursed as part of the national agreement.

 

 

Flu service back for winter 2016

10 May 2016, P3 Pharmacy, Sam Healey

 

NHS England has announced it will recommission the Community Pharmacy winter flu vaccination programme in 2016/17, after nearly a quarter of a million more people benefited from vaccinations in 2015/16.

 

A total of 10,407,913 seasonal flu vaccinations were delivered in 2015/16. This included 240,259 additional patients who chose to receive vaccinations in a community pharmacy compared to the previous year, said NHS England. The number of the most vulnerable patients receiving flu vaccination also increased, including those in ‘at risk’ categories and pregnant women, despite the mild winter.

“This is great news for patients, and an excellent way of demonstrating that pharmacists can routinely be turned to for preventative healthcare,” said Sandra Gidley, chair of the English Pharmacy Board.

 

“Close and effective” working with GP surgeries can make the service even more successful this year, she added.

 

The terms and fees for the recommissioned service will remain the same as in the 2015/16 and the early announcement this year will support pharmacies in managing and ordering vaccine stocks.

Some GPs have reacted angrily to the news, however, with Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the GPC, saying: “Practices will be frustrated that NHS England is ignoring the evidence that the extension of the flu immunisation scheme this year failed to deliver significant improvements and in fact led to a drop in overall uptake, fragmentation of a previously good service to patients, wasted vaccine that had been pre-ordered by practices and in some cases undermined previously good relationships between practices and pharmacies.”

 

Click here for tips and advice from Numark on how to make the most of your flu service.

 

 

Pharmacy flu service re-commissioned

10 May 2016, National Pharmacy Association

 

Community pharmacy seasonal influenza vaccination Advanced Service to be re-commissioned for 2016/17

 

Following on from the launch and implementation of the 2015/16 community pharmacy seasonal influenza vaccination Advanced Service, NHS England has announced that this will be re-commissioned in 2016/17. Community pharmacists in England, therefore, will once again be able to provide flu vaccinations under the NHS, to eligible adult patients.

 

The remuneration and the terms, including the eligibility criteria, are to remain the same as in 2015/16; however, further information and guidance will be issued once the relevant legislation and documentation has been updated.

 

The NPA has arranged flu vaccination training for pharmacists, which is suitable for providing vaccinations under a private Patient Group Direction, as well as the NHS community pharmacy seasonal influenza vaccination Advance Service.

 

For further information on this or any other query, please contact the NPA Pharmacy Services team on 01727 891 800 or email pharmacyservices@npa.co.uk.

Produced by the NPA Pharmacy Services team May 2016.

 

 

Flu service back for winter 2016

10 May 2016, P3 Pharmacy, 10 May 2016

 

NHS England has announced it will recommission the Community Pharmacy winter flu vaccination programme in 2016/17, after nearly a quarter of a million more people benefited from vaccinations in 2015/16.

 

A total of 10,407,913 seasonal flu vaccinations were delivered in 2015/16. This included 240,259 additional patients who chose to receive vaccinations in a community pharmacy compared to the previous year, said NHS England. The number of the most vulnerable patients receiving flu vaccination also increased, including those in ‘at risk’ categories and pregnant women, despite the mild winter.

 

“This is great news for patients, and an excellent way of demonstrating that pharmacists can routinely be turned to for preventative healthcare,” said Sandra Gidley, chair of the English Pharmacy Board.

 

“Close and effective” working with GP surgeries can make the service even more successful this year, she added.

 

The terms and fees for the recommissioned service will remain the same as in the 2015/16 and the early announcement this year will support pharmacies in managing and ordering vaccine stocks.

Some GPs have reacted angrily to the news, however, with Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the GPC, saying: “Practices will be frustrated that NHS England is ignoring the evidence that the extension of the flu immunisation scheme this year failed to deliver significant improvements and in fact led to a drop in overall uptake, fragmentation of a previously good service to patients, wasted vaccine that had been pre-ordered by practices and in some cases undermined previously good relationships between practices and pharmacies.”

 

Click here for tips and advice from Numark on how to make the most of your flu service.

 

 

Community Pharmacy Flu Service Recommissioned for 2016-17

9 May 2016, Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis

 

NHS England has said it will recommission the community pharmacy seasonal flu vaccination programme in 2016-17.

 

The terms and fees for the service will remain at the same level as 2015-16 when 10,407,913 seasonal vaccines were delivered, including 240,259 more patients who received their jab in community pharmacy compared to the previous year.

 

“Our flu vaccination service made it possible for nearly a quarter of a million more people last year to receive a vaccination in their local community pharmacy of choice,” said Keith Ridge, the chief pharmaceutical officer.

 

“We are pleased to confirm that we will continue to offer this more convenient option to the public during the year ahead.”

 

NHS England said it made its announcement early to “support pharmacies in managing and ordering vaccine stocks.”

 

Alastair Buxton, director of NHS services at the PSNC, said: “This early announcement of recommissioning will help pharmacy contractors prepare for provision of this important service and is to be welcomed.”

 

 

Recommissioned flu service will better last year says EPB chair

10 May 2016, Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis

 

Sandra Gidley, chair of the English Pharmacy Board, has expressed her belief that pharmacy’s collaboration with general practice will ensure the roll-out of the flu vaccination service will better last year’s performance following NHS England’s decision to recommission the scheme for 2016-17.

 

In 2015-16 nearly 10.5 million seasonal vaccines were delivered in England and over 240,000 more patients were vaccinated in community pharmacy compared with the previous year.

 

Although the partnership between pharmacists and GPs has been highly beneficial to public health, the collaboration has been strained.

 

Last year the British Medical Association questioned the clinical benefit of sharing responsibility with community pharmacy for the seasonal flu vaccine of eligible adults and BMA GPs committee chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said there was “little real evidence that it increases uptake among this category of patients.”

 

Gidley (pictured), however, was enthusiastic about the recommissioned community pharmacy flu service.

 

“This is great news for patients and an excellent way of demonstrating that pharmacists can routinely be turned to for preventative healthcare,” she said.

 

“Around a quarter of a million additional patients chose to receive vaccinations in a community pharmacy compared to the previous year.

 

“Flu vaccinations are a great example of how pharmacists can help ease overstretched GP surgeries. Close and effective collaboration with our GP colleagues should help make this year even more successful in terms of delivery.

 

“One of the English Board’s aspirations is to ‘make every pharmacy a public health centre,’ promoting national commissioning for this and other services deliverable by pharmacists and the pharmacy team.”

 

 

GPs demand review of pharmacy flu vaccination scheme

10 May 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal, Debbie Andalo

Trade union for UK doctors expresses concerns about influenza vaccinations being delivered by community pharmacists.

 

GPs want the influenza immunisation programme offered by community pharmacists in England scrapped unless a national review proves that it has increased the total number of people being vaccinated.

 

The British Medical Association (BMA), a trade union and professional body for doctors in the UK, is calling for an evaluation of the scheme for at-risk patient groups, which will be delivered as an advanced service for the winter flu season in 2016–2017. NHS England announced it was recommissioning the service on 9 May 2016.

 

The move by the BMA is the clearest indication yet of GPs’ unease with community pharmacists taking over some of their vaccination work.

 

The union says it is “vital” that the vaccination process is offered in the most “effective way” and says it has “concerns” about the service being delivered by community pharmacists.

 

“At present there is still not conclusive evidence that this particular scheme has demonstrated a significant increase in overall uptake over the last flu season,” a spokesperson for the BMA said in a statement on 9 May 2016. “The current decision to recommission is therefore one that many GPs will be surprised at. There must now be a serious commitment to a full review of the project during its second year and if it fails to be shown that it has increased total uptake it should not be recommissioned next year.”

 

The BMA’s comments follow similar misgivings by GPs when community pharmacists were first commissioned by NHS England in 2015 to offer the vaccination service as an option under their national contract. According to figures from NHS England, community pharmacists vaccinated 240,259 patients in 2015–2016 out of a total of 10 million vaccinations given as part of the national programme.

 

The decision to recommission the service for a second year running was, however, welcomed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS).

 

Sandra Gidley, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, says: “This is great news for patients, and an excellent way of demonstrating that pharmacists can routinely be turned to for preventive healthcare.

 

“Flu vaccinations are a great example of how pharmacists can help ease overstretched GP surgeries. Close and effective collaboration with our GP colleagues should help make this year even more successful in terms of delivery,” she adds.

 

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), the negotiating body for community pharmacy contractors in England, says guidance will be issued once more details are known. However, NHS England has confirmed that the terms and fees will remain the same as for 2015–2016.

 

 

Daily Insight: Six steps to jumpstart the Carter review

9 May 2016, HSJ

Carter review needs to stop stalling

On Monday afternoon Jeremy Hunt, Simon Stevens, David Williams and Bob Alexander lined up to face the Commons health committee.

In a session lasting two and a half hours, the men from the DH, NHS England and NHS Improvement were grilled on the department’s budget, social care spending, and the efficiency drive spearheaded by the Carter review.

The health secretary told fellow MPs the reforms from Lord Carter’s work were “really motoring”, which committee chair Sarah Wollaston took issue with – as did HSJ editor Alastair McLellan.

Ms Wollaston then asked: “Are we on target to meet the efficiencies projected by Carter?”

Mr Hunt said he couldn’t “answer that question today” because organisations have only just started collecting the data.

Earlier in the day, the HSJ editor’s leader had a different take to Mr Hunt on the progress of the Carter review.

He says the review “remains the most useful piece of work done to date on this challenge” but “it is going nowhere fast”.

NHS Improvement – the organisation responsible for implementing the reforms – has an imposing brief in its first year, so important issues can “fall by the wayside. The implementation of the Carter recommendations is one of them – and by far the most significant”.

He then sets out six ways to deliver the Carter review – read the full piece on hsj.co.uk.

The article’s conclusion is clear: “Making sure the NHS is in a position to ‘deliver’ Carter should be the number one priority of the services’ national leadership over the coming weeks and months.”

 

 

UK pharmaceutical industry to support the UK remaining in Europe

9 May 2016, ABPI

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has taken the decision to express its support for the UK to remain in Europe and to highlight the benefits that EU membership brings to UK patients and the pharmaceutical industry.

 

​​​Alongside the BioIndustry Association (BIA), the ABPI have brought together 93 signatories in a letter published yesterday in The Observer, featuring pharmaceutical companies and prominent business leaders from across the UK life sciences industry.

 

Mike Thompson, Chief Executive Officer at the ABPI, said: “Our members are overwhelmingly supportive of remaining in the EU.

 

We believe that staying in the EU will mean that patients in the UK will be more likely to get faster access to new medicines than if we left. With the European Medicines Agency, pharmaceutical companies have a one-stop shop for centralised licencing of new medicines and treatments across Europe. If we left the EU, this would mean that the licensing of new medicines would have to be handled by a UK agency as well as a European agency.  Our members have confirmed that the applications for UK license would come after the European license due to the smaller patient population in the UK.

 

​The UK also currently holds an enviable position as one of the premier European destinations for ground breaking research and clinical trials.  An EU exit risks the breakdown of international collaboration between scientists, doctors and industry which could slow down access to new drugs for patients in the UK.

 

As a nation we benefit hugely from EU funding for research and development – more than any other EU country – and this has helped drive medicines research across a whole range of diseases, including cancer, dementia and diabetes. An EU exit would create a funding gap which would need to be filled if the UK is to continue punching above its weight globally in research and development of new treatments.

 

We believe that staying in the EU will also encourage global pharmaceutical companies to continue to invest, employ, research, manufacture and export in the UK, rather than elsewhere.”​

 

 

Pharmaceutical industry supports UK in Europe

9 May 2016, P3 Pharmacy

 

The UK pharmaceutical industry is more likely to thrive if the UK remains part of the European Union, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has commented. “Our members are overwhelmingly supportive of remaining in the EU,” said Mike Thompson, chief executive officer.

 

Processes for licensing of new medicines could be slower out of the EU, the organisation suggested.

“We believe that staying in the EU will mean that patients in the UK will be more likely to get faster access to new medicines than if we left. With the European Medicines Agency, pharmaceutical companies have a one stop shop for centralised licencing of new medicines and treatments across Europe. If we left the EU this would mean that the licensing of new medicines would have to be handled by a UK agency as well as a European agency. Our members have confirmed that the applications for UK license would come after the European license due to the smaller patient population in the UK.”

 

Funding and international collaboration between scientists, doctors and industry could also be affected.

 

“As a nation we benefit hugely from EU funding for research and development – more than any other EU country – and this has helped drive medicines research across a whole range of diseases, including cancer, dementia and diabetes. An EU exit would create a funding gap which would need to be filled if the UK is to continue punching above its weight globally in research and development of new treatments,” said Mr Thompson.

 

Staying in the EU could also encourage global pharmaceutical companies to continue to invest, employ, research, manufacture and export in the UK, rather than elsewhere, said the ABPI.

 

 

DH releases slides from stakeholder event

28 April 2016, PSNC

The Department of Health (DH) today (28th April) held a stakeholder engagement event on its consultation on the future of community pharmacy. At the event a series of slides were presented and DH has provided the stakeholders with copies to share with their members.

 

Consultation event slides: Community pharmacy in 2016/17 and beyond

 

The event gave the wider group of stakeholders (Pharmacy Voice, RPS, Local Government Association, GPhC, APTUK and National Voices) an opportunity to discuss the DH proposals including the Pharmacy Integration Fund, the Pharmacy Access Scheme, quality and services. Today’s event followed PSNC’s publication of further information on the counter proposal it submitted to DH.

 

Further information on the community pharmacy review and the campaign for community pharmacy’s future can be found at: psnc.org.uk/campaign.

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