Community Pharmacy England, pharmacy owners and LPCs met in Leeds to discuss urgent matters such as pharmacy pressures and the ongoing Primary Care Access Plan negotiations, with valuable input from sector polls and LPC leaders.
The packed two-day meeting held on 12th and 13th July, agenda included time to consider both topical and more strategic issues, with matters arising from the ongoing negotiations of the additional £645 million investment in community pharmacy high on the agenda.
The Committee discussed progress and explored how to get as much money flowing into pharmacies as possible from this opportunity, without adding further pressures.
In a first for the Committee, CPE asked the sector a series of questions ahead of the meeting and Committee Members had a full discussion on the results. It has already begun using some of the results in its influencing work and the Negotiating Team is currently considering how they may be used to support the ongoing and future negotiations.
Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy England, said: “July’s meeting came at an important moment, allowing us to discuss key topics that will feed into the ongoing negotiations. We spent a substantial amount of time considering the overarching critical issues and what the Committee identified to be the priorities and red lines. At this critical stage, we are grateful to everyone who completed our polls as your feedback has been incredibly valuable.
“Enabling pharmacy owners to feed directly into Community Pharmacy England Committee meetings is a key strand of our new ways of working with the sector. Never before have pharmacy owners been able to directly inform our Committee and have their opinions discussed at length as an agenda item in its own right.
“The results of the polls weren’t easy reading and laid bare the struggles that pharmacies have to manage on a daily basis. In particular the Committee noted the severe pressures being faced by pharmacy owners in terms of the ongoing instability of generic medicines supply, dispensing at a loss and margin delivery within the constraints of Year 5 of the contract. It’s important that Committee Members hear this kind of feedback to help ensure they can accurately represent and make the best decisions for the whole sector. It also helps us to raise awareness of issues that matter to you with the public and policymakers.”
“As part of our commitment to unity and working collaboratively across the sector, the Committee were joined by LPC leaders from the Yorkshire and Humber region for part of the meeting. The LPC attendees had the chance to network with Committee Members and speak about their experiences of local commissioning, working with Integrated Commissioning Boards (ICBs) and other local issues,” said CPE.
Committee Members also discussed progress on the Vision for Community Pharmacy being developed by Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund, as well as a new draft governance framework from independent expert Victoria Finney, who is leading a comprehensive governance review of the Committee.
This is the first update in its new approach for post-Committee Meeting communications since CPE’s recent rebrand. It will continue to keep the sector updated about Committee Meetings in a variety of ways going forward to keep pharmacy owners and their teams more informed about work.