Phew! If you’ve been struggling to get your head around the new English community pharmacy contract, you’re not the only one.

For starters, this is being hailed as a ‘landmark’ five-year agreement, but will it really give contractors much-needed stability after years of uncertainty? The new contract gives the strongest indication to date that the Government is keen to see more collaboration between community pharmacy and the rest of primary care, particularly with added transitionary payments between October and March next year, which aim to ease contractors into a more integrated role with more clinical services and integration with primary care networks.

But with no additional baseline investment, it remains to be seen whether the contract has changed the status quo to a great enough extent. And the sector may have to do something much more dramatic to stop community pharmacists defecting to new and shiny roles in GP practices.

All change

It’s been a busy time for the team at The Pharmacist, as we’ve been preparing for our own next stage. With the tech-obsessed health and social care secretary Matt Hancock at the helm, primary care is increasingly digital – and we’ve decided to reflect that in the way we deliver content to you.

So, to allow us to focus on even more innovative online content, this will be the final print edition of The Pharmacist magazine. The way some of you read The Pharmacist might be changing, but our championing of the independent sector never will. We’ve got ambitious plans, including videos, podcasts and more, and we look forward to seeing what the future brings.