Pharmacy Business Conference 2018 was themed around digital technology.

By Michael Holden

On Thursday, 26 September 2019, the day we will be hosting our prestigious Pharmacy Business Awards & Dinner event, Pharmacy Business magazine is holding its fourth annual conference in London.

The conference will bring together award-winning community pharmacists and stakeholders to showcase how pharmacy can make a difference to people’s health and lives and create a sustainable future by adapting to the evolving needs of the consumers and commissioners of our services.

In our July and August editions, we highlighted the key elements of the NHS Long Term Plan, what this means for community pharmacies and what could and should be done now.

In this article, we will focus on how the new community pharmacy contractual framework aligns with the NHS plan and the key elements of an effective business plan which the conference will be exploring through case studies.

Pharmacy contract

The English community pharmacy funding settlement for the next five years has been announced, the first time that we have had a multiyear settlement. The agreement aims to build on the clinical skills of community pharmacists and their teams which must be seen as a positive step. At the Pharmacy Business Conference, we will hear from NHS England what they are looking for from community pharmacy through this new framework in the context of the NHS plan.

Whilst many will be concerned that initially, this has flat funding for the five years, we should acknowledge that this will have undoubtedly been a big task for PSNC to achieve. There will be opportunities to testbed new clinical and prevention services to demonstrate benefits the NHS plan seeks and which may see a different distribution of funding within the sum or potentially bring new funding into the contract sum.

In my opinion, the eventual loss of MURs is disappointing. Yes, they needed reform and the service was never designed to capture the right value outcomes. However, a good consultation on safe medicines use adds enormous value to patients and not to acknowledge and fund this provision of pharmaceutical care as an adjunct to medicine supply is a lost opportunity for patients, the NHS and pharmacy.

Structured Medication Reviews by pharmacists working in a PCN will add value but only reach a proportion of patients and misses the opportunistic interventions on safety, adherence and healthy lifestyles which can improve patient outcomes.

On a positive note, the New Medicine Service, that also adds value to patients and the health system, is retained and a medicines reconciliation service is to be added to support transfer of care. The arrival of a new national minor illness consultation service (CPCS) should be welcomed and quickly embraced, particularly when GP referrals are included; certainly all GPs I know welcome its coming.

Pharmacy processes will need to be smart and teams will need to be skilled up to deliver a great patient experience. This could be a substantial piece of work and funding for some but will not replace the funding lost from MURs.

Embedding HLP in the contractual framework, rather than just in the current QPS, should be welcomed. Many contractors have fully adopted and realised the benefits from the organisational development, health promoting ethos and quality criteria which underpin HLP. The opportunity to develop the right knowledge and skills within the pharmacy team to deliver a healthy living environment and enhanced customer experience will pay dividends. There will also be new services to build on these foundations. Given the launch of the Prevention Green Paper, with which the pharmacy contract is aligned, the opportunities for community pharmacy to be at the forefront of prevention are significant.


The new Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS), with its focus on safety and workforce development, should be seen not as a tick-box exercise, but as an indicator of what might be to come when PSNC go back to the table with the NHS and DHSC.

So in summary, the new contract framework is good in parts, less so in others, but it’s what we’ve got and we will have to make the most of it whilst building relationships with Primary Care Networks to tap into the funding that will flow through there.

Planning for growth

This has to start with an implementation plan to ensure that you deliver against the new contract requirements, e.g. PQS, NMS, CPCS and flu vaccination, and developing local NHS opportunities. However, to be sustainable, pharmacy must also build its capability to deliver private care to its local population based on identified unmet need for services and self-care.

Step 1 – understand where you are now by analysing current performance and understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats within the community you serve.

Step 2 – Decide where you want to get to – what is your core purpose and vision; what are your values and key goals.

Step 3 – Determine how you can get there, what are your critical success factors and where to focus for profitable growth

Step 4 – Prepare for action – develop a plan, set objectives and timelines, measure successes, review what works and what doesn’t.

Why attend conference?

At the conference owners of independent pharmacies will share with you their journey in developing and implementing a business plan for a sustainable future. Our stakeholder panel will reflect on the key elements of the day and your questions. Make sure you are there to hear, participate and learn from your peers, then go back and build your own plan of action.

For more information on the speakers and topics go to the Pharmacy Business Conference website (www.pharmacybusinessconference.

Mike Holden, Principal Associate at Pharmacy Complete, will be chairing the Pharmacy Business Conference 2019

This article also appears in the September issue of Pharmacy Business.

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