Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC) leaders share what they think are the essential qualities that a community pharmacy PCN lead needs
Since July, GP practices have been backed by extra funding to work together and with other healthcare providers in local primary care networks (PCNs) serving 30-50,000 patients.
The new community pharmacy contract incentivises integration with PCNs as part of its updated pharmacy quality scheme (PQS), while the Government has made clear that the community pharmacy and GP contracts will continue to align.
However, contractors need to present a united front and LPCs have been asked to find a PCN lead who can represent all the community pharmacies – typically around 10 – within each PCN’s footprint.
But what makes a good community pharmacist PCN lead? Four LPC leaders shared the top five qualities that they think a candidate should have at this year’s annual Pharmacy Show in Birmingham (6 October).
1. Open to working in new ways
James Wood, chief executive for Community Pharmacy Surrey and Sussex (LPCs), told delegates: ‘I think there are many qualities, but probably the top one for me is being open to working in new ways. Being open to work with colleagues in general practice and their own colleagues in community pharmacy in a different way from what has been done in the past.’
Michael Lennox, chief officer at Somerset LPC and local integration lead for the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), said: ‘Resilience is going to be important because it is going to be a distribution curve of success. I think it will take longer in some [PCNs] so you will need to be resilient.’
Mr Lennox added: ‘We’ve got to have people that can [collaborate] and, with respect to [you and me], pharmacy is not necessarily automatically in the mode of collaboration.
‘There is a bit of your brain in there that you’re going to have to work on to get into that mode. I think we’re quite independent by nature.’
Ruth Buchan, Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire chief executive, said that integration with PCNs will be ‘challenging’ and enthusiasm will be needed.
She said: ‘We need to be enthusiastic to do things differently, to test the water, work differently and work with colleagues differently. You are going to get knocks – hence the resilience – but we need to be enthusiastic and positive about the future and where it’s going to take us.
‘[We must] not complain and be seen as being whingey but be positive about when we get to working in a different way, how that’s going to feel and the benefit that it’s going to have for patients.’
Nick Kaye, Cornwall LPC associate chief executive, said: ‘I think the one thing that I would say in addition is that you have to be authentic. You have to be respected by the system, by both GP colleagues and also community pharmacy colleagues because you’re going to have to bring them together in a different way.
‘I find that quite a lot of these [initiatives] are delivered by people who don’t work on the front line but for me, [a leader] needs to be doing the day job as well as just talking about it.’
PCN leads will also need to be unafraid to get it a little bit wrong and ‘take a few bumps along the way’, he added.
Are you a community pharmacy PCN lead or considering taking on the role? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us @Pharmacist_News