An emergency package of measures to plug the £170m budget cut in the short-term has been published by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC).

The counter proposal is not a replacement of its response to the government made in February, but instead is an alternative for the government to consider while negotiations are still underway for the long-term future of the profession.

In the briefing document PSNC has laid out how pharmacies can be enabled to make savings in the prescribing budget and to save on costs for out of hours GP services.

PSNC has also proposed payments that would reward the provision of high quality pharmacy services, in response to the Department of Health’s aim to alter community pharmacy funding distribution mechanisms.

“PSNC’s proposal includes a number of possible community services which, if implemented together, could lead to savings worth at least as much as the government’s proposed £170m cut to community pharmacy funding.

“In this way community pharmacy could contribute to the efficiencies needed in the health service, as well as reducing the substantial levels of medicines waste, without the need for a blunt funding cut that will damage the services patients need and use,” the committee states.

Key proposals include a not-dispensed scheme, where contractors receive the usual professional fee plus a small additional bonus for each item identified as not required by the patient.

A therapeutic substitutions service and a generic substitution service, whereby community pharmacists recommend, and substitute, alternative medication is also suggested.

PSNC envisage this leading to pharmacists sending GP practices proposals on “alternative prescribing options for individual patients”.

Identifying excess stock in care homes, an unwanted medicines campaign and measures to reduce the NHS spend on out-of-hours GP services have also been submitted.

“The objective of this [out-of-hours] service would be to reduce NHS expenditure by allowing community pharmacies to make emergency supplies of medicines to patients at NHS expense,” the document states.

“The service could also receive referrals of patients from NHS 111.”

Finally, the negotiating committee propose remunerating pharmacists on the basis of the quality of service they provide.

Criteria include having a consultation room that meets MUR/NMS requirements, access to the Summary Care Record and training staff as health champions as well as other measures.

Read the summary document here