HDA UK Media And Political Bulletin – 10 October 2017

Media and Political Bulletin

10 October 2017

Media Summary

EMA spends in anticipation of Brexit staff losses

Pharmaphorum, Richard Staines, 9 October 2017

 

Pharmaphorum highlights that the EMA has issued a temporary staffing contract worth up to £32 million, in order to ensure it has enough hands on deck while it relocates from London as part of Brexit.

 

Running for four years, the tender is one of the largest the EMA has ever published, and will be signed by up to five companies for each of six lots. A document published in the EU’s Official Journal shows that during the procurement procedure, 60% of the weighting will be based on price, with 40% of decision making being on the basis of quality of service.

 

The agency noted that it routinely recruits interim staff to cover spikes in workload, or replace staff on long-term leave, it told the Financial Times it will be using the contract to cover staff losses during the relocation process.

 

DH board to ‘reflect’ on transparency of supervision proposals

Chemist and Druggist, Grace Lewis, 9 October 2017

 

Chemist and Druggist reports on the comments made by chief pharmaceutical officer for Wales, Andrew Evans. He said, in answer to a question from the publication at the Pharmacy Show that the board that oversaw controversial pharmacy supervision proposals will “genuinely have to reflect” on the backlash to the plans at its next meeting.

 

Mr Evans said it was his “personal view” that the board “got the balance slightly wrong” when it came to making information available to the public.

 

PDA: ‘We’re doing what the DH programme board failed to do’

Chemist and Druggist, 9 October 2017

 

Chemist and Druggist reports on the Pharmacists’ Defence Association’s (PDA) plans to launch a campaign to encourage debate on the controversial pharmacy supervision proposals.

It’s chair, Mark Koziol, has said that “there hasn’t been an open debate” on supervision since the government programme board was launched, and said it was down to the PDA to “to do what the [programme board] has failed to”.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

 

There is no Parliamentary coverage today.

 

Full Coverage

 

 

EMA spends in anticipation of Brexit staff losses

Pharmaphorum, Richard Staines, 9 October 2017

 

Europe’s drugs regulator has issued a temporary staffing contract worth up to £32 million, in order to ensure it has enough hands on deck while it relocates from London as part of Brexit.

 

The European Medicines Agency must leave its London headquarters and will find out its new location in a vote by EU politicians next month.

 

But the EMA has already warned of a mass exodus if the agency goes to a location that is not favoured by a majority of its staff, such as Athens, Warsaw, or Zagreb.

 

There will be some disruption even if the agency moves to a city favoured by staff that has bid to host it, such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Milan, or Vienna.

 

The EMA employs around 890 staff at its Canary Wharf headquarters in London, where it has been based since 1995.

 

Executive director Guido Rasi has already warned that access to new drugs and safety monitoring of approved drugs could be jeopardised if politicians pick a location that was unfavoured in a staff survey published last month.

 

Now the agency is covering its bases with a £31.8 million contract for temporary workers to minimise disruption during the relocation process.

 

Running for four years, the tender is one of the largest the EMA has ever published, and will be signed by up to five companies for each of six lots.

 

A document published in the EU’s Official Journal shows that during the procurement procedure, 60% of the weighting will be based on price, with 40% of decision making being on the basis of quality of service.

 

Companies wishing to apply have until 6 November to submit their bids.

 

While the agency noted that it routinely recruits interim staff to cover spikes in workload, or replace staff on long-term leave, it told the Financial Times it will be using the contract to cover staff losses during the relocation process.

 

DH board to ‘reflect’ on transparency of supervision proposals

Chemist and Druggist, Grace Lewis, 9 October 2017

 

The board that oversaw controversial pharmacy supervision proposals will “genuinely have to reflect” on the backlash to the plans at its next meeting, a board member has said.

 

In answer to C+D’s question at the Pharmacy Show on Sunday (October 8), Andrew Evans, chief pharmaceutical officer for Wales, said it was his “personal view” that the board “got the balance slightly wrong” when it came to making information available to the public.

 

He recognised that supervision is a “difficult subject” and it is a “challenge” to strike the right balance between remaining open and transparent, and encouraging “free and frank discussion” across the sector.

 

“I think there is an inherent difficulty talking about [it] behind closed doors,” Mr Evans said. “It gives the appearance that you’re talking about, or agreeing something, that you wouldn’t want others to find out about.”

 

“No doubt we’ll pick it up again at the [next programme board meeting at the] end of October,” he told the audience.

 

“I would expect the board perhaps to be a little more forthcoming and open to debate around these subjects, like we are today,” Mr Evans added.

 

Last month, C+D exclusively published detailed proposals for pharmacy technicians to be handed legal responsibility for supervising the supply of prescription-only medicines (POMs), which had been submitted to the DH programme board.

 

A working group, established by the UK’s four chief pharmaceutical officers, also suggested amending legislation to allow a pharmacy technician to, in a pharmacist’s absence, undertake the “supervision role” of determining when medicine supplies can go ahead and “overseeing the activities of other, non-regulated, pharmacy staff”, according to the confidential documents seen by C+D.

 

No formal proposals

 

Mr Evans was one of four programme board members speaking at the Pharmacy Show session, including Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) president Ash Soni, and Tess Fenn, president of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK).

 

Mr Soni said he had received “very unpleasant…personal attacks” on social media since the supervision proposals came to light, which he said were “unprofessional and shouldn’t happen”.

 

“I understand the emotive nature of this debate – that is in some ways why I have chosen not to do anything about it thus far,” he told delegates.

 

The discussions around supervision are no more than “straw man” plans, and there are “no current proposals on what [pharmacy supervision] will look like”, he said.

 

Mr Soni reiterated his position: “Wherever there is a medicine, there must be a pharmacist.”

 

“There is no question about pharmacists not being in pharmacies,” he stressed.

 

Ms Fenn said research conducted by the APTUK and the University of East Anglia last year showed that “88% of pharmacy technicians were extremely willing and wanting to extend their role and the level of their training”.

 

Ms Fenn claimed there were more than 23,000 pharmacy technicians on the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) register.

 

“That is a significant workforce that we can use,” she stressed.

 

PDA: ‘We’re doing what the DH programme board failed to do’

Chemist and Druggist, 9 October 2017

 

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) plans to launch a campaign to encourage debate on the controversial pharmacy supervision proposals, its chair has announced.

 

 

Mark Koziol said “there hasn’t been an open debate” on supervision since the government programme board was launched, and said it was down to the PDA to “to do what the [programme board] has failed to”.

 

Speaking to delegates at two Pharmacy Show sessions on Sunday and Monday (October 8-9), Mr Koziol said the PDA is planning a “loud” national media campaign to engage patients and safety groups, and has joined with the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) to draft a pledge for pharmacists, pharmacy organisations and student bodies to sign.

 

The PDA will be holding events across the UK to discuss the pledge and “to make sure we reach all pharmacists in this important debate”, Mr Koziol said.

 

The PDA campaign is in response to C+D’s exclusive revelations last month, that detailed proposals for pharmacy technicians to be handed legal responsibility for supervising the supply of prescription-only medicines (POMs) had been submitted to a Department of Health (DH) programme board.

 

In response to C+D’s coverage of the proposals, the PDA held two emergency meetings at the Pharmacy Show to announce its plans to engage the profession, the government and patients, and “stop remote supervision”.

 

Tackling “secret meetings”

 

Mr Koziol also confirmed that the PDA and the NPA sent a joint letter to the chair of the government’s programme board, Ken Jarrold, last week to request an “urgent meeting”.

 

“We need some clarity. What are the timeframes? What is this consultation [on the proposals] likely to look like?” he asked.

 

“Having secret meetings, frankly by a bunch of people hand-picked by the government, is not a good situation. We need to establish a situation where we as a profession reclaim the supervision debate,” he added.

 

Mobilising the sector

 

Mr Koziol also announced during the emergency sessions that the PDA plans to launch its patient safety charter in Parliament in November, which “focuses on the role of the pharmacist in patient safety” and the importance of having pharmacists present in pharmacies at all times.

 

The organisation will publish an “extensive” piece of research into the pharmacy technician model, and has commissioned research into new models of pharmacy.

 

It will also publish its second report on the future of community pharmacy – Road Map 2 – in December, followed by a national conference in March 2018.

 

Mr Koziol called on community pharmacists to engage with their patients, flag any “sympathetic” MPs to the PDA, and get involved in the “intelligent debate” around pharmacy supervision.

 

“When you see the national media campaign, that’s your cue,” he concluded.

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