Negotiating the new community pharmacy contract will be one of the first tasks of the new Labour government, Community Pharmacy England (CPE) has said.

But even in a 'best-case scenario', negotiations might not begin for several weeks, CPE suggested.

Commenting on the Labour Party’s win this morning, CPE chief executive Janet Morrison said that concluding the negotiations would be ‘one of the first tasks for the new Government health team’.

‘This is critical to assure the future for community pharmacies and the safe supply of medicines to patients, but it will be one item of many on their list of NHS crises to solve.’

Ms Morrison added that CPE was 'seeking very early meetings with new ministers on this topic'.

'However, even in a best-case scenario, we expect it to take some weeks before they are ready to commence formal negotiations with us – this is always the case with a new administration who will need briefings from civil servants and time to form their own views,' she said.

When the general election was called in May, negotiations were underway for the community pharmacy contract for the 2024/25 financial year, which began in April.

Ms Morrison said in June that discussions could continue but no agreement could be reached until after the general election and the appointment of new government ministers.

The next CPCF is expected to be a one-year interim arrangement, and is not expected to bring 'significant clinical service proposals' from government and the NHS, CPE has said previously.

Ms Morrison has warned contractors not to expect ‘revolutionary’ change in the 2024-25 contractual framework, instead saying that the negotiator was trying to create ‘building blocks’ to lay the groundwork for next year’s negotiations.

In its committee meeting on 17 and 18 April, CPE considered its negotiating position, ‘including red lines and priorities’.

The negotiator said it was calling for:

  • an uplift to the core global sum
  • margin write-offs
  • an agreed mechanism for regular funding increases linked to activity and inflation
  • annual uplifts to service fees
  • more fundamental reform of the margin delivery framework
  • an economic review of the medicines supply chain.