CPCF settlement: 2019/20 to 2023/24

CPCF settlement: 2019/20 to 2023/24

Following negotiations between PSNC, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England and Improvement (NHSE&I), HM Government has agreed to make a five-year investment in community pharmacies. The deal secures pharmacy funding and sets out a clear vision for the expansion of clinical service delivery over the next five years, in line with the NHS Long Term Plan.

In brief, the settlement consists of the following main elements:

Funding for the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF): £2.592bn per year for 2019/20, and for subsequent years until the end of 2023/24.

NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS): a new Advanced service where patients are referred into community pharmacy by other NHS providers. Commencing October 2019, this service replaces the current NHS Urgent Medicine Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS) and local pilots of the Digital Minor Illness Referral Service (DMIRS).

Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS): a new name for the Quality Payments Scheme. The gateway and quality criteria from previous years will change on an annual basis, with some becoming CPCF Terms of Service requirements from April 2020. See our PQS briefing for more information.

Transitional payments: these are monthly payments to help community pharmacy contractors meet costs associated with changes such as integration into Primary Care Networks (PCNs), preparation for Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs) and implementation of the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD).

Other changes:

Further information and resources

PSNC statements

Simon Dukes, PSNC Chief Executive, said:

“The negotiations on the CPCF for 2019/20 began in April with an offer of a two-year pharmacy funding settlement from HM Government. Since that proposal was made, the discussions have been all-embracing.  After many hundreds of hours of negotiations, the PSNC Negotiating Team has been able to secure five years of protected funding and certainty for community pharmacy contractors.

Recent NHSE&I board finance papers revealed that the NHS fully expected a cut in community pharmacy funding to have been made in 2018/19 – with therefore a funding level in 2019/20 of lower than £2.592bn. Over the past four months, PSNC has put a considerable amount of data to DHSC and NHSE&I to demonstrate the rising cost base of the sector, as well as continually highlighting the value of pharmacy services, in order to try and persuade Government to reverse that planned downwards trajectory of pharmacy funding.  While we have not succeeded in getting an increase in the overall sum, we have secured a commitment from Government to a protected £13bn over five years.

A crucial part of the deal is the agreement of DHSC and NHSE&I to review the situation on an annual basis each autumn. These built-in reviews will provide real opportunities for us to monitor and consider crucial factors such as costs, service volumes, pharmacy income and sector stress, and PSNC will be using this evidence to make the case strongly for further investments in the sector. As a matter of urgency, we will be pressing DHSC and NHSE&I on their commitment to work with us to improve reimbursement and funding models. We will also be fast-tracking discussions with DHSC and NHSE&I to get contractors more details on the new Pharmacy Quality Scheme as soon as possible.

In an environment of austerity and increasing political and economic uncertainty in Government, protecting funding levels for the next five years has been no easy task. But this does not mean that PSNC took the decision to accept this deal lightly. The Committee is extremely concerned about the ongoing financial pressures facing many community pharmacies and about the ability of some businesses to adapt to the new asks being made of them. We absolutely recognise the scale of the challenge that HM Government is putting to pharmacies with its ambitious service development programme in a backdrop of rising costs.

For the benefit and future viability of the entire sector, this deal was the best scenario and it brings many key benefits for community pharmacies. It brings us into a better working relationship with our key customers and it gives us a shared vision for our future. The planned services will enable the sector to transform its offer and I hope community pharmacists will be pleased about the new roles they will be able to offer.  Importantly, the deal will better integrate the sector at the heart of primary care: giving community pharmacy a growing and indispensable part to play in delivering the NHS Long Term Plan.”

Gary Warner, Chair of PSNC’s Service Development Subcommittee and independent community pharmacy contractor, said:

“The introduction of the new NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) should be an exciting development for community pharmacies across England. Although delivery will bring big challenges – not least from the unpredictability of the workload, and the increasingly important role we will be taking on in managing patients and triaging for more serious conditions – the service is a positive development in our journey towards becoming providers of more clinical services.

PSNC is already consulting with colleagues from across the community pharmacy sector to try to ensure that the right support is in place for contractors. Further details and guidance are rapidly being worked out and will be shared with contractors as soon as possible. Recognising the challenge in preparing for the new service in the already short and busy autumn period, the funding structure agreed offers a significant incentive for those pharmacies who are able to be ready to offer it.

Over time, and particularly when referrals from GP practices are introduced in April 2020, the service will enable us to take the lead role in managing people with minor conditions on behalf of the NHS. This will have a positive impact in reducing pressure on urgent care services and, crucially, it will give us a core clinical role at the heart of primary care, with GPs and other services relying on pharmacies and sending their patients directly to us. As we prove our abilities, we will become more vital than ever to the success of the health service and to patients, and PSNC will be using our success to make a business case for further investment in the service and the sector in future years.”

Bharat Patel, PSNC Vice-Chair and independent community pharmacy contractor, said:

“Our priority in negotiating this settlement has been, as it always is, to get the best possible financial outcome for all community pharmacy contractors while also meeting the needs of patients and our customers, the NHS and HM Government. This will be an ongoing job as we work through the detail of some of the later service developments and monitor the delivery of funding; and we must also continue to look outside of the CPCF to ensure that community pharmacy is making the most of local opportunities and that the Pharmacy Integration Fund is used to its maximum potential.

As a pharmacy owner and Regional Representative on PSNC, I am very concerned about the precarious situation that many independent contractors now find themselves in. For some, this pressure is unlikely to go away as we work to take on new services and challenges, and as is inevitable with any national contract of this scale, significant changes can mean that some contractors stand to benefit more than others. Our priority through our work on legislative change will be to ensure that all pharmacies, whatever part of the sector they fall into, will be able to take advantage of changes that help to make them more efficient, and to consider new ways forward such as local consolidations and partnerships to work within Primary Care Networks.

I hope that this deal will give all pharmacy owners certainty about what the future holds for our sector so that they can start to plan and to make more informed business choices. I am pleased that we have been able to secure money to support some of the very great transitions that pharmacy businesses are going to need make to deliver the services now being asked of them. I am also hopeful that the Government’s commitment to work with us to try to smooth the delivery of funding will help to prevent the shocks to the system that we have seen historically.”

Clare Kerr, PSNC Negotiating Team Member and Head of Healthcare Policy for McKesson UK, said:

“As a member of PSNC’s Service Development Subcommittee, I was pleased that we have been able to agree with Government, a collective view for the development of community pharmacy services, noting how closely this matches the vision we had set out for ourselves as a sector in the Community Pharmacy Forward View. Pharmacies becoming healthy living centres, as well as being the first port of call for people with minor illnesses, are changes that we have been calling for, for some years. It is clear that we and our customer now agree on our future and potential, and this should be celebrated: the move towards a more clinical service offering is one that I hope many contractors from independents and multiples alike will want to embrace.

The challenge of course will be how to operationalise all of this, and this will be particularly difficult within a fixed funding settlement and with so many other changes and unknowns – from the possibility of Serious Shortage Protocols to the likelihood of another difficult winter – going on. The decommissioning of MURs, and the predictability of the income that they brought, will of course be another challenge and disappointing to many, but the NHS was very clear on this matter: it will not fund services that it believes offer poor value for money.

Our collective job then must be to do all that we can to prove the value of the new services that we are being asked to offer. Multiples and independents will face similar obstacles and many of the transitions ahead will not be straightforward for anyone. One of the key challenges will be the need to come together to try to collaborate more with each other and to work together to integrate our sector into the evolving Primary Care Networks. The Government have rightly recognised the need for community pharmacy to do this and that this will take time and therefore cost money; so, the Transitional payments to recognise some of these costs are welcome. I would urge all contractors, large and small, to look to one another to start this important work so that we, as a sector, ensure that we are making all the progress we need to a local level.”

CPCF Roadshow events

PSNC will be holding a series of Sunday roadshow events across England to explain the context of the deal and what it means for pharmacies. There will be lots of opportunity to share views and ask questions of PSNC’s Negotiating Team.

The events are an opportunity to explore what the future holds for your pharmacy; to help prepare yourself and your team for that; and to hold PSNC to account for the decisions it has made.

The events are free to attend, but community pharmacists and their teams are asked to register in advance.

Find a CPCF Roadshow event near you

CPCF agreement overview

Funding and dispensing

Quality Scheme and services

CPCF Checklist emails

The emails below are part of a series of recommended actions for community pharmacy contractors to help you to get ready for the introduction of all elements of the five-year CPCF. There is a lot to do and details will be coming out in stages, so this email series will help guide you through the process and highlight all of the resources and support available to you.

Click on the links below to view the CPCF Checklist emails in full. Sign up here to receive PSNC emails straight to your inbox.

This page will be updated as more details and resources become available.

Do you still have questions?

If you have a query that isn’t addressed by any of the above, please email cpcf@psnc.org.uk


Latest Contract & IT news

View more Contract & IT news >