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. These discussions have been complex and are 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 concerns continue as we have two as yet unresolved funding bids with HM Government: one on COVID-19 costs and the second for an uplift to wider Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) funding. We are continuing to discuss both these issues with Ministers.
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 negotiations action list for the second wave.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PSNC CEO Blog
The PSNC Chief Executive’s monthly blog covers topical issues for the community pharmacy sector, where the COVID-19 pandemic response has featured heavily in recent months. Simon Dukes has used his blog to talk about community pharmacy’s role and incredible efforts during the pandemic, the huge pressures that pharmacy teams are under, and the important negotiations taking place.
3rd March – PSNC calls on Chancellor to write off pharmacies’ COVID loans
Ahead of the Budget, PSNC writes to the Chancellor of the Exchequer asking him to intervene in the ongoing COVID-19 funding negotiations and ensure that pharmacies do not have to pay back any of the £370m in emergency loans they received last year.
19th February – PSNC CEO releases video message
PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes releases another video message for community pharmacy contractors and their teams. In the video Simon describes the impact that the lack of fair funding for pharmacy could have on patients, highlighting concerns around the growing number of pharmacy closures.
9th February – Update on PSNC Funding Negotiations
Ahead of further rounds of Ministerial meetings, PSNC once again underlines its position that community pharmacy contractors must be compensated for the full impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their businesses, and warned of the impact on patient services if this does not happen.
15th January 2021 – PSNC Video Message from CEO Simon Dukes
PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes releases a new video message for community pharmacy contractors and their teams. In the video Simon reflects on the extraordinary year just passed and looks to the challenges ahead, noting in particular the stoicism and commitment of community pharmacy teams and calling for an end to the slow responses from policy makers that we have seen throughout the pandemic.
9th December – Funding Negotiations Update: Video message from PSNC CEO
PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes releases a new video message for pharmacy teams explaining the current situation regarding community pharmacy funding negotiations. In the video, Simon outlines PSNC’s two-pronged approach to money – to cover all COVID-related costs and a bid for an uplift to the annual contract sum – both of which require urgent resolution.
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.
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.
20th and 21st May – May PSNC meeting
The PSNC Committee holds 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.
15th April – COVID-19 webinar for pharmacy contractors
A new webinar explains 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
A new 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 releases a video message for community pharmacy teams to explain the work that he and his team are doing on behalf of the sector.