PNA: Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment

Every Health & Wellbeing Board (HWB) in England has the statutory responsibility1 to publish and keep up to date a statement of needs for pharmaceutical services of the population in its area.

The HWBs for Leicester City, Leicestershire County and for Rutland must each publish their own Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA).

Background to PNA development & publication from 1st April 2012

It’s important the final PNA is relevant, helpful and legally robust as the document may be used in the following circumstances:

  • by the NHS when making decisions about which NHS funded services need to be provided by local Community Pharmacies. These services are part of local healthcare and public health and will affect NHS budgets.
  • when deciding new market entry applications. These applications are often keenly contested by NHS contractors and can be open to legal challenge if not handled properly.
  •  “Healthy lives, healthy people is the Public Health Strategy for England (2010). It states “community pharmacies are a valuable and trusted public health resource”. With millions of contacts with the public each day, there is real potential to use community pharmacy teams more effectively to improve health and wellbeing and to reduce health inequalities. This will be relevant to Local Authorities as they take on responsibility for public health in the Community.
  • Community Pharmacy is an important investor in local communities through employment, supporting neighbourhood and High Street economies, as a health asset and long term partner.
  • HWBs will have a legal duty2 to check the suitability of existing PNAs and publish supplementary statements explaining any changes e.g. changes might be needed if geographical area boundaries change
  • HWBs must ensure the NHS Area Teams have access to the PNAs
  • Each HWB must publish its own revised
  • Failure to produce a robust PNA could lead to legal challenge due to the relevant of the PNA to decisions about service commissioning and the opening or new pharmacies

1Section128A of NHS Act 2006, as amended by the Health Act 2009 and Health and Social Care Act2012

2Part2ofNHS (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013 [Being drafted byDepartment of Health]

Role of the PNA 

Many local authorities will have had limited involvement in the commissioning of services from pharmacies.  LPCs, on the other hand, represent the pharmacy contractors in their area, and will know what services are provided, the aspirations and willingness of existing pharmacy contractors to provide additional services, and they will be able to help the Health and Wellbeing Boards to engage with pharmacy contractors.

The development of the PNA is an iterative process, which will take into account the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy – and which will also take into account the information about current and future provision of services.

The support of LPCs was invaluable to PCTs when they carried out their assessments in 2010 / 2011, and in many cases, the LPC supported the use of PNA questionnaires to obtain up to date information on current provision, and willingness to provide further services from community pharmacies. LPCs are likely to be even more involved as Health and Wellbeing Boards develop their own PNAs, as they can provide much of the background information about the provision of pharmaceutical services, that may be unfamiliar to the HWB.

PSNC has produced a questionnaire for use by LPCs to gather information on the services offered by their contractors and inform discussions on PNA development with HWBs. This form is not mandatory, and can be downloaded from “Related resources” below.

As the PNA is a crucial part of the market entry system, and to support robust commissioning decisions, it is important that HWBs prepare PNAs to national comparable standards. The Department of Health has published guidance to Health and Wellbeing Boards.

As LPCs have experienced the development of PNAs during 2010/11 and the legislative requirements have not changed, their engagement by the HWBs will help ensure a robust PNA.

The purpose of the PNA is to make an assessment of the following:

  • the demography of its area
  • current and future needs for pharmaceutical services in relation to:
    • the different needs of different localities within the area
    • whether there is sufficient choice to obtaining pharmaceutical services within its area
    • the effect of pharmaceutical services provided in the area of any neighbouring areas
    • any other NHS services provided in or outside its area which affect pharmaceutical services
    • whether further provision of pharmaceutical services in its area would secure improvements, or better access to pharmaceutical service

Leicester City PNA 2018

Please see the following link to the PNA and supporting appendices:

Leicestershire County PNA 2018

Please see the following link to the site and supporting appendices  :

Please see the following links to the PNA and supporting documents:

Rutland PNA 2018 

Please see the following links to the PNA and supporting documents: