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The Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and the Pharmaceutical Service Negotiating Committee have begun discussions for the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework for 2019 to 20 and beyond.

The negotiations aim to support the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan’s vision for the future of primary care.

“I am pleased we are beginning discussions with the Pharmaceutical Service Negotiating Committee on the future Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework, guided by our new Public Health Minister Seema Kennedy,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.

PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said negotiations were critical for England’s pharmacy contractors. He assured pharmacists of the best possible deal.

“Our priority is to seek a sustainable future for community pharmacy to enable us to better utilise the skills and knowledge of pharmacy teams to help people stay well in the community,” Dukes said.

The National Pharmacy Association welcomed the commencement of contract negotiations and called it a sign of a maturing relationship between the pharmacy sector and the NHS.

Mark Lyonette, NPA Chief Executive, said that community pharmacies needed to be recognised as the front door to health because they were as an indispensable component of the urgent care pathway.

“The current financial pressures are a powerful disincentive to pharmacy owners to invest in NHS services.  The negotiations provide an opportunity to change that, so pharmacies can step up to meet the challenges laid out in the NHS long term plan,” Lyonette added.