What PSNC is doing

What PSNC is doing

Community pharmacy contractors and their teams are understandably concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on them and PSNC has been working hard to put plans in place to support them.


Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK, PSNC has been in discussions with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) to address the impact of the pandemic on community pharmacy.The discussions are complex and will be ongoing as the situation evolves, but we are continuing to press for further support and protection for pharmacies who are being impacted.

PSNC is very concerned about the viability of community pharmacies in this difficult environment and we have relayed our concerns to HM Government, including underlining the absolute necessity of protecting the services that pharmacies are providing at the moment. This has included meetings with officials and ongoing dialogue with the Pharmacy Minister, Jo Churchill.

Our current concerns relate to COVID-19 costs and workload pressures during the second wave of the pandemic.


Issues being addressed

Here are some of the many topics that PSNC is working to address to ensure that community pharmacy teams have the support the need to play their role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also read about PSNC’s negotiations progress and current priorities in our priorities and negotiation actions list.

Resilience of the network

We are in ongoing discussions with NHSE&I about resilience of the network and the importance of the community pharmacy network remaining open; and with staff absence due to illness or for other reasonable cause, this requires an increasingly flexible approach to opening hours and local arrangements between pharmacies to ensure continued supply of pharmacy services and essential medicines to patients and the public.

The provisions and guidance currently in place can be found on the Network resilience page.

Contractual/regulatory matters

We are pressing for the NHS to take a pragmatic and flexible approach to the regulations and terms of service, to enable community pharmacies and pharmacists to concentrate on patient care.

Changes agreed so far can be found on the Contractual and regulatory changes page.

Security of pharmacy staff

PSNC and the other national pharmacy organisations are increasingly hearing concerning stories about the security of pharmacies and their staff. We are working to raise security concerns with the relevant authorities and the RPS have written to the National Police Chiefs Council to help make sure that all pharmacy teams across the NHS are kept safe. LPCs may also be able to raise any security concerns with local police forces and the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Further guidance can be found on the Staff safety and security page.

Medicine supply/dispensing

Our Dispensing and Supply Team has been monitoring the generic medicines affected by recent price hikes and has made clear the need for protection for pharmacies against these sudden price rises. Pharmacy teams should continue to report supply issues to PSNC via the usual reporting forms.

More information can be found on the Supply of medicines page.

Other practical issues

We have been highlighting the many operational pressures on pharmacy businesses throughout the pandemic and in recent months we have asked for a range of measures to help community pharmacy teams to better handle them through the second wave of the pandemic.

In particular, PSNC is seeking several regulatory dispensations which will give pharmacy teams the freedom to prioritise patient facing services and make it easier for contractors to maintain sufficient staffing levels.

Learn more in PSNC Briefing 043/20: COVID-19 Second Wave – PSNC Negotiations Action List.

Negotiation updates

PSNC has being providing updates on discussions about issues relating to the pandemic through blogs, videos, negotiations action lists, and a webinar. These all aim to outline PSNC’s ambitions and explain the work we have been doing behind the scenes to support community pharmacy teams.

22nd December – Chief Executive’s Blog
December’s PSNC CEO blog sees Simon Dukes reflecting on community pharmacy’s phenomenal work during 2020. Looking at the incredible achievements during a year of unprecedented challenges, the blog describes how pharmacies’ resilience meant the public still had somewhere to go for face-to-face healthcare advice, despite the patchy nature of Government support for the sector.

2nd December – Chief Executive’s Blog
November’s PSNC CEO blog sees Simon Dukes consider the future potential for community pharmacy’s role, setting out his aspirations for the coming year.

26th November – PSNC seeks to address workload pressures during second wave
PSNC publishes an update on the action points that we have been discussing with the NHS and Government to address contractor workload and staffing pressures during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the action points have been in discussion for many weeks and, yet, as we saw in the first wave of COVID-19, decision-making remains slower than we would like.

13th November – COVID-19 Cost Negotiations Update: PSNC rejects initial offer and makes counter-proposal
PSNC restates its position that community pharmacy contractors must be compensated for the full impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their businesses. PSNC says it has rejected an initial funding offer as too limited and put a counter-proposal to DHSC, asking for the £370m in advance payments to be written off.

2nd November – Chief Executive’s Blog
October’s PSNC CEO blog reflects on the impressive work community pharmacy teams have put in this year and the need for this to be recognised by Government.

2nd October – Chief Executive’s Blog
September’s PSNC CEO blog considers the frustrating delay in support for COVID-19 costs, whilst being encouraged by announcements on CPCS and a new pathway to independent prescribing.

28th August – Chief Executive’s Blog
August’s PSNC CEO blog explains why Simon Dukes has taken the unprecedented step of asking contractors to reconsider free provision of non-CPCF services.

26th August – PSNC Negotiations and CPCF Services Update
PSNC publishes an update on its ongoing negotiations related to funding and services. In particular, PSNC has made a case to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care, for an urgent uplift to the agreed Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) funding.

31st July – Chief Executive’s Blog
July’s PSNC CEO blog explores how coronavirus has changed patient behaviours, sharing just a few of the remarkable stories captured as part of the PSNC Pharmacy Advice Audit.

30th June – Chief Executive’s Blog
June’s PSNC CEO blog describes how his team are starting to look towards important negotiations for the autumn and winter of 2020/21.

29th May – Chief Executive’s Blog
May’s PSNC CEO blog looks forward to a post-COVID world where we can ‘Reset and Reform’ community pharmacy.

20th and 21st May – May PSNC meeting
The PSNC Committee held detailed discussions on which activities community pharmacies should stop, start or continue to do in the current and coming environment. Immediate priorities such as the NHS Flu Vaccination Service were considered as well as the role that pharmacies could play in future COVID-19 services such as testing.

15th May – PSNC CEO video message
PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes confirms that negotiations on additional funding for the sector are ongoing, and describes how discussions with DHSC and NHSE&I are now also turning to the expected next phases of the pandemic in the UK.

29th April – Chief Executive’s Blog
April’s PSNC CEO blog focusses on community pharmacy’s role in the COVID-19 response, discussing the pressures that pharmacy teams are under and the financial support needed urgently.

15th April – COVID-19 webinar for pharmacy contractors
This webinar covered how PSNC is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, including working with others and negotiating for additional funding for the sector. Click the link to watch the on-demand version.

31st March – PSNC CEO video message
PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes reacts to the £300 million of advance funding agreed by Ministers in recognition of the significant cashflow pressures facing the sector at this point in the COVID-19 pandemic.

27th March – PSNC Briefing 016/20: COVID-19 Response – PSNC Negotiations Action List
This briefing lists the possible action points that PSNC is in urgent negotiations with the NHS and Government about. We will update contractors on these points as and when decisions are reached.

23rd March – PSNC CEO video message
PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes recorded a video message for community pharmacy teams to explain the work that he and his team are doing on behalf of the sector.

21st February – Chief Executive’s Blog
February’s PSNC CEO blog describes how community pharmacy is already picking up patients concerned about COVID-19 who have been displaced from general practice, helping to make the case for the vital role of community pharmacy in primary care.


Return to the main COVID-19 hub page.



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