Findings of the Independent Review into Contractor Representation and Support Published

Findings of the Independent Review into Contractor Representation and Support Published

June 19, 2020

Announcement Summary

The findings and recommendations of the independent review into community pharmacy representation and support have been published today (Friday 19th June).

The review was commissioned jointly by PSNC and LPCs last year to look for ways in which they could work more effectively together, and to ensure that the representation and support network for contractors – both local and national – is fit for the future.

The review was led by Professor David Wright, Professor of Pharmacy Practice at the University of East Anglia (UEA), working with a team of UEA researchers and taking evidence through focus groups, interviews and surveys from people across the community pharmacy sector and beyond.

Key Recommendations

Based on their findings, Professor Wright and his team have today made 33 recommendations for the future of LPCs and PSNC. Some of the key recommendations and themes identified include:

  • Improving engagement with and reflection of the views of contractors at both national and local levels.
  • The need for a shared external governance framework for both LPCs and PSNC to operate under: this would include enhanced codes of conduct, published KPIs, expectations around transparency, as well as limiting the tenure period for all committee members. The representation network should stop relying on the goodwill of individuals, but must demonstrate value for money.
  • The creation of an independent Governance and Strategy Board responsible for oversight of all national and local representative bodies (i.e. PSNC and LPCs). This board should also approve funding for PSNC and LPCs, with levies in future paid directly to both organisations and funding for PSNC increased to give it sufficient resource to carry out its functions.
  • The need to improve the links between local and national representation. This should include the replacement of the current elected PSNC Committee with a new Council of LPC Chairs, who are able to vote on major national decisions and negotiations.
  • Recommending that some LPCs merge so that no LPC represents fewer than 200 contractors – ensuring better value for money.
  • The need to operate under modern names that help to improve community pharmacy’s image nationally: it is recommended that PSNC becomes Community Pharmacy England and that all LPCs adopt a new naming format of ‘Community Pharmacy [locality]’.
  • Inclusion of patient and public voices in representation work.
  • More support functions, such as human resources, to be centralised, and an effective network of LPC Chief Officers set up to enable better sharing of good practice.

Further Themes and Recommendations

The review team also called for a national vision and strategy for community pharmacy in England, as well as a national external communications strategy to improve perceptions of the sector. Systems should be put in place to ensure that evidence of the positive impact of innovative services can be effectively captured across the network and further commissioning facilitated.

For PSNC, a possible draft new structure was set out, including a Negotiating Team consisting of contractors and contractor representatives who are employed by Community Pharmacy England and extensively trained. The creation of new policy units and a Negotiations Strategy Committee were suggested to support the new, more dynamic negotiating process, and to ensure that all decisions are in line with one agreed strategy which has approval from the proposed Council of LPC Chairs.

For LPCs, a review of size with respect to numbers of contractors represented was recommended, as was a reduction in Committee sizes to ten members at most. As well as training for LPC Members on their roles, systems should be in place to ensure engagement by all LPC Members is equal; funding should be focused on representation rather than support activities; and local services should only be negotiated where there is a reasonable profit margin for contractors.

Next Steps and Contractor Engagement

Community pharmacy contractors can read Professor Wright’s report (which is available as a short or long version) via his website at: pharmacy-review.org. There will also be a chance to learn more and to ask questions of Professor Wright in his webinar being held at 7pm on Monday 29th June: register here.

To help contractors and their teams to understand the current structures for representation and support as well as what Professor Wright’s report recommends, PSNC’s Communications Team has produced a summary briefing available to download here.

PSNC and LPC Members will meet digitally on Wednesday 8th July both to question Professor Wright on his findings and to consider ways to take forward his recommendations. This is likely to be followed by working group activity over the summer and further engagement with contractors.

Statement from PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes

“When I first proposed this independent review back in September 2019 there were two key questions I wanted answers to:  were contractors getting best value for money from their representatives; and were there better ways that PSNC and LPCs could work together? We had just emerged from a very difficult funding negotiation and contractors, PSNC and LPCs were coming under increasing pressure financially and with workload. In looking at what was working well, as well as being honest about what was not working so effectively, my aim was to find ways for us to better help community pharmacy contractors and to ensure we were all fit for the challenging future ahead.

Thank you to everyone in the sector who has helped Professor Wright to gather data for his review which has led to an ambitious set of recommendations. Professor Wright’s report sets out a blueprint for change, and one which PSNC and LPCs cannot ignore. He is right to praise many of the individuals working in PSNC and LPCs – the energy, ability and sheer dedication of so many people in this sector have impressed me – but also to find that some of the systems in which they find themselves working are in need of significant improvement.

PSNC will consider the recommendations at its next meeting, and we will come together with LPCs early in July to talk – I hope frankly but constructively – about the best way forward. There will be difficult decisions ahead, but there is now no doubt that changes must be made, and at the heart of those changes must be the contractors we are all working for.”

Further information

Download Professor Wright’s Report

Read a Summary of Contractor Representation and the Review Recommendations

Sign up to attend Professor Wright’s contractor webinar

LPC Members should have received a separate email with information about the event being held on Wednesday 8th July along with a request to submit initial questions to Professor Wright. Any LPC requiring further information can email commsteam@psnc.org.uk



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