The Year Ahead

PSNC’s vision for 2019/20

PSNC’s primary ambition is to develop the community pharmacy contractual arrangements to support a robust and sustainable community pharmacy network, providing a wide range of services that meet the needs of patients, the NHS and HM Government.

Pharmacy funding: a multi-year deal

Embarking on the year ahead, PSNC is very mindful of the incredibly difficult financial situation that many pharmacy contractors now find themselves in. Pharmacies are valuable resources to the NHS and as such the network must be adequately funded; we will make strong representations to HM Government on this point.

To give pharmacy owners some greater degree of certainty about the future and the confidence to invest in their businesses, we will in particular be seeking a multi-year funding settlement in 2019/20. We will also continue to seek a fair and transparent approach to pharmacy funding distribution that doesn’t expose individual pharmacy owners to unreasonable risks.

Collaboration with our customer and beyond

Following the conclusion of the Judicial Review process in August 2018, we want to build on work done in recent months to start to work more collaboratively with HM Government and with the NHS. This collaboration will be a focus throughout 2019/20 as an improved relationship with our key customer will be crucial to putting the sector in a stronger position for the future.

Likewise, building constructive partnerships both within and beyond our sector will be crucial to our success, and in 2019/20 we will continue to engage with partners such as GPs, charities and MPs to help to build a strong case and network of supporters for community pharmacy.

Over the next year we will need to continue to work particularly closely with Government and our partners across the supply chain to help pharmacies to navigate the new challenges that our exit from the EU may bring.

Pharmacy services: developing pharmacy’s role

In the coming year, we will continue to work to develop the role that community pharmacy can play in supporting delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan. We would like to see the range of services that pharmacies are funded to offer expanded, further embedding the sector within the NHS and offering improved care to patients and the public.

Focus on local commissioning

PSNC already provides a wide range of support to LPCs and community pharmacy contractors, but 2019/20 will bring different challenges as the Primary Care Networks (PCNs) take shape and become the focal point for the delivery of local care. Local commissioning of services will be increasingly important.

Throughout the year PSNC will be working closely with LPCs to ensure that they have the support they need to engage with emerging commissioning structures, to mobilise contractors to help them to engage with PCNs and to share evidence of good practice as effectively as possible.

Integration and enablers

Matt Hancock, who became the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in July 2018, made technology one of his three priority areas for the NHS. He set out his vision of an NHS which makes best use of technology to provide better care and save public money, and he has been clear that he expects all providers of health services to embrace this approach, including community pharmacies. Technologies of relevance to the sector include automated dispensing facilities and hub and spoke dispensing; the launch of the NHS app; artificial intelligence; and novel delivery mechanisms.

PSNC will work to explore how these technologies might be able to help community pharmacies and the patients they treat, building on progress already made in areas such as the introduction of Phase 4 of the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) and Real-time Exemption Checking.