The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has launched a programme of work to address 21 proposals, including renaming as ‘Community Pharmacy England’.

In an update on Friday (22 July), PSNC said it expects the name change to ‘Community Pharmacy England’ to be effective from April 2023, as part of its new programme to address recommendations  supported by an overwhelming majority of contractors in a vote in June.

The 37 proposals put forward by the Review Steering Group (RSG) - 21 of which directly apply to PSNC – are aimed at reforming representation and support provided by PSNC and LPCs to community pharmacies in England, including governance, finance and levy, and influence and negotiation.

One of the RSG proposals is for PSNC and LPCs to remove the term ‘chemist’ in general communications where possible and replace it with community pharmacy or pharmacist as ‘appropriate’.

PSNC has also been told to ‘reduce variation between LPCs’ - such as in performance, costs and governance – and ‘improve their efficiency and focus their activities’.

PSNC has introduced eight workstreams to address the RSG proposals to form the Transforming Pharmacy Representation (TAPR) programme, which will be overseen by the full PSNC committee.

The PSNC committee also said it would work with LPCs to address the six proposed directed at them, and work together with LPCs on the 10 joint PSNC and LPC proposals.

It said that work had begun on ‘early priorities’ but it also must consider how to fund the TAPR programme – and pointed to resource constraints on the team, that there are no additional levy funds available to PSNC until 2023/24, and the need for PSCN’s ‘current work to continue at pace’.

PSNC chair Sue Killen said: ‘This is a significant change programme and we have to be realistic about what is possible until we can bring in some more dedicated resource – indeed, the need to provide additional resource to PSNC was one of the RSG recommendations.’

Also commenting on the programme launch, PSNC chief executive Janet Morrison said community pharmacy contractors ‘have made it very clear through the recent contractor vote that they want to see a step-change at PSNC and the LPCs’.

This includes changes in negotiations and decision-making, communication and accountability, and how the PSNC works with contractors ‘for the benefit of the whole sector’.

She continued: ‘I know that some of the questions on contractors’ minds will be how this programme is ultimately going to help them, how their local LPC is going to be impacted, and how PSNC will make best use of the additional levies, some of which start to be directed to it from the next financial year.

‘Our work programme is still in its infancy, but I hope that through the work both we and the LPCs will be doing, the answers to these questions will become ever clearer over the coming months.’

The PSNC programme workstreams:

  • Vision and strategy: This will cover the development of a new shared vision for community pharmacies which can be used to inform wider pharmacy influencing work and negotiations.
  • Influencing and negotiation: This is the work needed to strengthen PSNC’s negotiating capacity and to influence effectively ahead of the next round of CPCF negotiations.
  • Governance: The RSG made wide-reaching proposals to strengthen governance at PSNC and the LPCs, and this workstream will see a governance review at PSNC to address these.
  • Finance and levy: The RSG proposed a redirection of a greater proportion of contractor levies towards national work, so new LPC levies need to be calculated.
  • LPC support: PSNC has committed to the production of a toolkit to support LPCs to consider the proposed changes for them, and will also work with LPCs on the joint proposals.
  • Engagement and joint working: This workstream will explore how PSNC can improve engagement with contractors, giving them more oversight of PSNC activities, as well as the ongoing relationship with LPCs including through the proposed Forum, and wider joint work.
  • Branding and visual awareness: This workstream will explore work to rename (and rebrand) PSNC as Community Pharmacy England.
  • Communications: This workstream will support communication of progress on all of the above workstreams on a regular basis, including via status reports using a traffic-light system.