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Home  »   Latest News   »   “Community Pharmacy England” proposals underline how contractor bodies speak for business owners and not for the profession

“Community Pharmacy England” proposals underline how contractor bodies speak for business owners and not for the profession

The PDA comments on the final recommendations of the PSNC Pharmacy Review Steering Group (RSG) which has proposed how the contractor body takes forward the Wright Review.

Fri 6th May 2022 The PDA

PSNC Pharmacy Review Steering Group (RSG) outlines the proposed future for a newly named “Community Pharmacy England (CPE)” which will speak for community pharmacy businesses.

The PDA welcomes the change of name from PSNC to CPE, which will make England’s contractor body consistently named with CPNI, CPS, and CPW elsewhere in the United Kingdom. However, the more substantive opportunity to widen representation within the negotiating body has been rejected by the review steering group.

The PDA had offered to become part of the revised national negotiating body to directly support efforts to secure improved funding for the sector, and recommendation 28 of the Wright Review had also proposed that “Allow pharmacy employees and patient and public representatives to have non-voting membership of CPLs”. However, the RSG has announced that they have reached: “Consensus not to take [recommendation 28] forward, and that it is for contractors themselves to manage employee engagement on contract matters. Many employees already sit on LPCs as contractor representatives”. 

The PDA is disappointed with this position as it will continue to exclude the voice of two significant populations of professionals:

  • Employed pharmacists. The majority of pharmacists are employees and are the professionals interacting with patients. NB: While some of the employees who sit on LPCs as contractor representatives may be pharmacists, they are there representing the interests of their employers, not of their colleagues; and
  • Locum Pharmacists. Many thousands of the profession are not employed by any Community Pharmacy Employer because they are locums. They get no representation in these structures

This means most of the profession, those who are employees and locums, that deliver the contract at the coal face, continue to have no say in what is agreed. The PDA continue to believe that it would have added significant value for all concerned if employed and locum pharmacists were more engaged in the negotiation and delivery of the NHS contract and were satisfied that they had a meaningful input to the process.

However, the RSG proposals underline that while Community Pharmacy England will speak for contractors, just as it did when called PSNC, it will not be speaking for the employed and locum members of the profession, i.e. the vast majority of pharmacists. While there was a time in history that every pharmacy was owned by an individual pharmacist, that is no longer the world we live in. The difference between those who speak for the owners of pharmacy businesses and those who can legitimately claim to speak “for pharmacists” is something that is becoming increasingly clear to politicians and other decision-makers.

The PDA has consistently championed the views and interests of employed and locum pharmacists including the practical challenges of service provision, safe staffing, key worker status, priority vaccinations, tackling inequality and violence, etc.

The PDA will continue to raise the collective voice of employed and locum pharmacists with the NHS and others to influence any new service models being discussed, and seek to ensure that anything agreed is grounded in the realities of current practice environments and considers the views and interests of the professionals and not just those of “shareholders”.

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