Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) will focus on getting the “kind of commitments the government has given to GPs” during the negotiations for the new contractual framework for community pharmacy, said Mike Dent, Director of Pharmacy Funding at the PSNC.

“Hopefully it’s five but at least a multi-year settlement which will allow you guys the time to understand the future and to plan and deal with your businesses accordingly,” he told the Sigma Conference held at Muscat, Oman on 17 February.

Cost of implementing the Falsified Medicines Directive and ensuring timely payment following the complete roll out of Electronic Prescription Service will also feature prominently in the negotiations, scheduled to begin in April, he added.

Dent, and Simon Dukes, chief executive of the PSNC who spoke on the same panel at the conference, asked community pharmacists to embrace technology.

“Data Security and Protection and hub and spoke are not going to go away,” Dent said. Dukes called for ‘difficult conversations’ on integrating hub and spoke into “wider sense of community.”

Commenting on the NHS long term plan, Dukes asked community pharmacists to grab the opportunity and move to a more services-led delivery.

“The flow of money that comes from the government and through primary care networks into the local are to fund clinical pharmacists is an opportunity for community pharmacy. We have to grab that.”

Community pharmacy needs to build capacity “to free up the time necessary to deliver some of those services” and pharmacists need to “spend more time in a patient facing clinical role,” in order to do this, he added.

Dent exhorted the “passionate” community pharmacists to look at pharmacy as a business, and asked to submit their claims on time.

“Make sure you are getting paid – do not leave money on the table. There’s money you can earn and lose by filling out scripts correctly/incorrectly.”’

It was on a bleak note he concluded his address, warning pharmacists against investing into pharmacy without a clear business plan.

“Don’t put money back into your business unless you have a clear plan and you are confident that it’s a good business investment. If you can, try and diversify your income sources.”

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