PSNC Update: Department of Health extends community pharmacy consultation period

PSNC Update: Department of Health extends community pharmacy consultation period

March 16, 2016

The Department of Health (DH) has confirmed that it will extend its consultation on community pharmacy in 2016/17 and beyond for two months until 24th May.

The decision follows a request for the extension from PSNC in order to give time to work through the complex proposals being consulted on.

The consultation was launched via a public letter to PSNC sent on 17th December 2015. The letter set out a number of proposals for the sector including a reduction in funding of £170m for 2016/17, plans to enable all pharmacies to have access to hub and spoke dispensing, and to encourage optimisation of prescription duration. DH had originally set 24th March as the closing date for the consultation on the plans.

Pharmacy minister Alistair Burt announced the extension during a meeting of the All Party Pharmacy Group today (16th March 2016). The minister said the Government saw real potential for greater use of community pharmacy and that the extension of the consultation would give more time for it to develop its proposals working with PSNC and informed by other stakeholders. 

PSNC is in discussions with the DH and NHS England, seeking to understand more about the plans and to ensure that community pharmacy’s role is recognised and developed.

PSNC Chief Executive Sue Sharpe commented:

“We are pleased that the Department of Health has agreed to our request for it to extend its consultation on the proposals for community pharmacy. The initial time given for a consultation of this scope and complexity was inadequate, and we had asked for a more realistic timescale. We will now continue our ongoing discussions with the Department of Health and NHS England, seeking to understand the rationale for the various proposals and to find ways to ensure that the services and value provided by community pharmacies are recognised and expanded in future.”

Additional information

PSNC understands that DH will now hold another round of meetings with the stakeholders it first met with earlier this year but do not have any further details. We will be continuing our discussions with DH and NHS England. We would advise any LPCs with comments to make on the consultation to submit these as soon as possible. Contractors and their teams can continue to contribute to the campaign for community pharmacy, for example by supporting the Downing Street petition and sharing examples of the excellent patient care they are giving. Find out more about what you can do to help.

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