NHS England is to work with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on improving the way pharmacies are reimbursed, The Pharmacist has learned.

The Government will work to ‘identify improvements’ to ‘make [reimbursements] as efficient as possible’ following repeated complaints from the sector about the current system’s shortcomings, NHS England told The Pharmacist yesterday (8 January).

This clarifies the reimbursement reforms referred to in the NHS Long Term Plan, published on Monday (7 January), although NHS England did not clarify what form the improvements would take.

The commissioning body also confirmed that ‘pharmacy connection schemes’ referred to in the document will take the form of a GP-to-pharmacy direct referral scheme pilot in sites around England later this year.


Hub and spoke regulations may need to change


The Government may change regulations around hub and spoke dispensing in order to 'increase efficiency', NHS England said.

'New technology/automation presents exciting opportunities to increase the efficiency of dispensing whilst safely freeing up clinical time for pharmacists to spend caring for patients,' the commissioning body said. 'Some changes to government regulations around, for example, hub and spoke dispensing, may be required.'

England's chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge said: 'The Long Term Plan is full of fantastic opportunities for pharmacy professionals working together across all sectors. 

'We are already making significant progress in ensuring patients benefit from the expertise of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians as clinical healthcare professionals to improve outcomes from medicines. This is now set to continue further with pharmacists delivering an essential role in the Long Term Plan to reduce over medication while also helping people to live healthier lives.'