Community Pharmacy Brexit Forum
Community Pharmacy Brexit Forum
PSNC has brought the community pharmacy sector together to ensure a coordinated effort and liaison with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) through the Community Pharmacy Brexit Forum.
Organisations represented on the Forum include: National Pharmacy Association (NPA); Company Chemists’ Association (CCA); Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIM); Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS); Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA); Dispensing Doctors Association (DDA); Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA); Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB); Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW); Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS); Community Pharmacy Northern Ireland (CPNI); the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC); and the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA). NHS England as well as DHSC attend Forum meetings.
The Forum’s work
The Forum has discussed a variety of Brexit-related issues, such as:
- The impact of Brexit across the community pharmacy sector;
- Updates on DHSC contingency planning for medicines and medical devices;
- Ensuring that the supply of medicines to community pharmacies for patients post-Brexit;
- The management of the 6-week stockholding for manufacturers;
- DHSC Operational Readiness Guidance;
- Practicalities around the introduction of Serious Shortage Protocols;
- The potential impact of Brexit on the number of pharmacy registrants in the UK;
- The use of representatives from the sector to assist DHSC’s work;
- Manpower issues; and
- Issues for the devolved countries.
Forum members have indicated their support for DHSC’s plans and will continue to work with DHSC to identify and address relevant issues.
PSNC has also been working to coordinate messaging on medicines supply and Brexit with the other pharmacy organisations (including agreeing to key messages following the December meeting of the Brexit Forum). For the public, key objectives for messaging have been to highlight the hard work that community pharmacies are doing to source medicines for patients; to avoid any scaremongering; and to make clear that while Brexit may be a contributing factor, it is not the only cause of supply problems.
Chief Executive Simon Dukes wrote about PSNC’s work on Brexit in his November 2018 blog.
Further details of the Brexit Forum’s previous meetings:
January 2019 meeting (issues included Operational Readiness Guidance)
February 2019 meeting (issues included SSP implementation issues)
The Forum is due to meet again in April 2019.
How the Forum will support community pharmacy teams
DHSC has asked the Forum to be a formal route of communication from the sector to the Department. Accordingly, contractors, pharmacists and pharmacy team members are asked to bring any relevant general Brexit issues to one of their respective organisations – this could be done via the local LPC, in the first instance.
The issues could relate to workforce issues and operational readiness issues as well as supply issues; but any requests for concession prices should be made to PSNC in the usual way.
Whilst PSNC and other Forum members will continue to hold their own discussions to identify and raise relevant issues and concerns that Brexit may present, the Forum provides a platform for all stakeholders to share thoughts and compile shared advice for community pharmacy teams. This will help to identify relevant issues and seek appropriate clarification as required, in the approach to the Brexit deadline.
The Forum is not a decision-making body and will pass relevant information on to DHSC.
The reporting lines for contractors to NHS England are still to be confirmed but it is likely that contractor issues relating to Brexit will be reported to the relevant NHS Regional Medicines EU Exit Panel. Nationally, the sector will liaise with NHS England through the Forum.