The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has outlined its top three priorities for the next community pharmacy contract during upcoming negotiations with the Government – including a multi-year contract and more timely payments for certain services.
The negotiator hopes to win a contract spanning several years instead of just one when it begins negotiations with the Department of Health and Social Care ‘very shortly’, PSNC’s director of funding, Mike Dent, told delegates at the Sigma conference in Muscat, Oman.
Speaking via videolink yesterday (17 February), Mr Dent said this arrangement, which he hoped would span five years as general practice achieved in its latest contract, would allow contractors to ‘understand the future and plan and deal with your businesses accordingly’.
PSNC will also seek ‘recognition’ for the sector implementing the anti-counterfeiting measures the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) – which has seen contractors buying barcode scanning equipment out of their own pockets – Mr Dent told delegates. If Britain leaves the European Union without a deal at the end of March, FMD will legally have to be revoked in the UK.
‘Sensible conversations’ over EPS
Thirdly, the negotiator is seeking ‘sensible conversations’ with the DHSC over how pharmacists are reimbursed for providing the electronic prescription service (EPS), Mr Dent said.
With the roll-out of EPS likely to increase the volume of EPS prescriptions by 80-90%, PSNC hopes to have ‘sensible conversations’ with the Government to ‘clarify’ when and how much pharmacies are paid to deliver the service, Mr Dent said.
‘As you well know, one of the most complex things you deal with is the whole advance recovery process – you never know quite how much you’re going to get paid,’ he added.
As the current community pharmacy contract only covers up to 1 April, Mr Dent told delegates the negotiator is hoping to secure interim funding arrangements for between that time and when the 2019/20 contract is agreed ‘in the next few days’.
However, the DHSC is currently ‘incredibly pressed’ due to making plans for a no-deal Brexit.