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The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has called for improved workforce planning to be undertaken by the government and NHS.

However, for this to happen, it added, “high quality workforce data for community pharmacy needs to be available.”

For this reason, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), NHS England and PSNC have agreed that it will be a Terms of Service requirement for contractors to complete the annual Health Education England (HEE) community pharmacy workforce survey, which will then provide a full picture of the community pharmacy workforce, including identifying the number of vacancies and regions where these are particularly hard to fill.

PSNC said: “It is acutely aware of the challenges that contractors and their teams are currently facing, so in recognition of the workload associated with completing the annual workforce survey, we have negotiated with DHSC and NHS England that the requirement to undertake an annual patient satisfaction survey will be removed from the Terms of Service from 1st October 2022.”

This means that contractual requirement will no longer apply to contractors in 2022/23 and going forward.

Commenting on the changes to the ‘terms of service’, Alastair Buxton, director of NHS Services at PSNC, said: “Everybody in the sector knows that contractors are struggling to recruit and retain staff in their pharmacies and that workforce planning needs to be improved. But effective workforce planning is impossible without high quality data on the current community pharmacy workforce.

“That is why PSNC has agreed to completion of the HEE workforce survey becoming a Terms of Service requirement, but recognising the pressures contractors and their teams are currently under, we have also negotiated the removal of the burdensome patient satisfaction survey requirement.

“This means the sector will have the data to enable the Government and NHS to better support community pharmacy workforce planning, while removing some workload from pharmacy teams.”

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