COVID-19: PSNC Negotiations Update

COVID-19: PSNC Negotiations Update

March 27, 2020

PSNC has today (27th March) published a list of the possible action points that we are in urgent negotiations with the NHS and Government about to ensure that community pharmacy teams are fully supported in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These include discussions on an urgent funding rescue package, recognising the enormous financial pressures on contractors at this time and the need to ensure that the pharmacy network can continue to stay open and serving patients.

The scope of the discussions mean there is a huge amount of work to do and PSNC is working in collaboration with Government and the NHS at pace: some of the things under discussion can be done reasonably quickly, but other things will take longer because they require legislative changes or wider collaboration. We will continue to make announcements to contractors as soon as we can.

The UK response to the COVID-19 pandemic is significant and wide-reaching. The day-to-day running of community pharmacies has, and will continue to, change to meet the needs of patients and the wider public. These changes are already putting immense pressure on pharmacies and we know that it is imperative that they get the support they need throughout this pandemic.

PSNC has been in urgent and wide-ranging discussions with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) on the support and measures needed for a number of weeks now. Many of the negotiations are very detailed and require Ministerial or other approval, including in some cases legal changes, which can take time to achieve.

We have already achieved some key wins through the negotiations such as:

  • The inclusion of pharmacy teams on the Government’s list of key workers;
  • A relaxation in the rules around pharmacy closed-door working;
  • The postponement of key services such as Hepatitis C testing and CPCF pilots;
  • The postponement of the Pharmacy Quality Scheme;
  • Extension of the deadline for the NHS Data Security and Protection Toolkit; and
  • Confirmation that NHSE&I will not take action against contractors who have not undertaken a clinical audit or the CPPQ, or not updated documents such as their practice leaflet.

Discussions on many other crucial topics are ongoing. So that contractors and LPCs can see the scope of the measures we are working to secure, we have today published our live negotiations action list.

Some of the key ongoing discussions are around:

  • The national Pandemic Delivery Service;
  • Suspension of further pharmacy services;
  • An emergency cash injection and funding protection for closed pharmacies;
  • The NHS Emergency Supply Service; and
  • Protections for staff re-deployment.

We are also holding urgent negotiations on a range of practical issues that need to be addressed from contractual requirements through medicine supply to NHS IT.

Simon Dukes, PSNC Chief Executive, said:

“In response to the huge amounts of feedback we are receiving from LPCs and worried contractors around COVID-19, we have today published our negotiations action list. The list is not yet agreed policy with Government, but we hope it shows you the scope of the discussions that we are having with DHSC and NHSE&I and gives some reassurance that we are working on all of the matters that you need clarity on. We can’t say when decisions on all of these topics will be made, and some will take longer than others, but rest assured that we are continually in contact with our colleagues at DHSC and NHSE&I, including having direct contact with the Minister, and we are pressing the on the need to achieve urgent progress.”

PSNC Briefing 016/20: COVID-19 Response – PSNC Negotiations Action List


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