An independent review has been launched into the support that the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) and local pharmaceutical committees (LPCs) provide to contractors.

The review, announced today (29 November), will be funded by PSNC and the LPCs and aims to ensure that the support they provide to contractors presents the ‘best value for money’.

A national steering committee is being set up to oversee the project, which will include two independent contractors who are not currently on an LPC, alongside other members nominated by employer representatives and LPCs.

PSNC said that local representation and support have ‘never been more important’ than now that the community pharmacy landscape is ‘rapidly changing’.

The review will recommend ways for PSNC and LPCs to work together most efficiently and make sure the support they provide to contractors is ‘fit for the future’, it added.

‘Everyone’s voice’

David Wright, professor of pharmacy practice at the University of East Anglia’s pharmacy school, has been appointed to lead the review of the roles and structures underpinning the bodies.

He said: ‘It is a great honour to be asked to lead on this review at this important time for community pharmacy.'

He added that the review has a ‘very short time frame’ but that he and his team will work hard to make sure they ‘capture everyone’s voice’.

He said: ‘I want to find out what is currently done well and how this could be done better, and what is done that may be better done by others. I want to know whether the current organisational structures, financial models and communication processes provide greatest value for money and if they don’t, to explore how we can change them.’

Professor Wright promised to ensure that the review is ‘dispassionate, proportionate and focussed on delivery for contractors, who are the paymasters’.

How to ‘best serve’ contractors?

PSNC chief Simon Dukes said: ‘PSNC and the LPCs are funding this independent review to look at what models and ways of working will best serve community pharmacy contractors in the future.

‘We hope the review will strengthen relationships between PSNC and the LPCs and find ways for us to collectively increase efficiencies so that contractors get best value for money.’

The steering committee will decide how the review should engage with the sector at its first meeting next month (19 December), but current plans are for a series of focus groups to be run in early 2020 alongside a national survey and some in-depth interviews, PSNC said.