The pharmacy negotiator has raised concerns over the recent changes to the GP contract which requires practices to open from 9am to 5pm on Saturdays from October

The plans, which were revealed last week as part of the GP contract updates for 2022/23, come as Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has begun negotiations on the 2022/23 pharmacy funding contract.

A British Medical Association (BMA) GP Committee negotiator said that the changes to the GP contract had been imposed on the sector without the agreement of the trade union.  

Alistair Buxton, PSNC’s director of NHS services, said it was ‘concerning’ that the latest round of negotiations between general practice and NHS England and Improvement had led to an ‘imposition’.  

He said that this ‘may in part reflect the very real challenges of negotiating in a post-Covid environment’.  

He added that PSNC supports proposals to free up capacity for general practice, such as the Community Pharmacy Consultation Service (CPCS), which PSNC has previously said will be given special emphasis during the negotiations on year four of the pharmacy funding contract.  

Funding negotiations will be ‘challenging’  

The body has predicted that this round of pharmacy negotiations would be ‘very challenging’ in light of the recent outcome of the spending review which concluded that there would be no uplift for the sector. 

‘We support the Government’s ambition to focus on recovery, but the reality is that pharmacies are still coping with many of the consequences and challenges of the pandemic,’ said Mr Buxton. 

‘Our focus remains on presenting solutions that we believe will help pharmacies and the wider NHS over the coming year.  

‘That includes proposals to help free up capacity for our general practice colleagues, such as the urgent need for a fairly funded pharmacy walk-in service that enables pharmacy teams to be used to their maximum potential to help people with minor conditions.’ 

Last week, PSNC predicted the NHS could save £640 million if patients with minor ailments went directly to pharmacists instead of GPs