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Primary Care recovery plan negotiations to be announced in ‘few weeks’, says CPE chief

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Negotiations around the £645 million investment pledged to community pharmacies have concluded, confirmed Janet Morrison

Community Pharmacy England (CPE) CEO, Janet Morrison said that the negotiations for the £645 million investment pledged to community pharmacies in 2023-25 have concluded.

The government’s primary care recovery plan is to be announced in a “few weeks” and negotiations for the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) from April 2024 will begin.

She said: “We have finished the substantive discussions on the recovery plan but detailed discussions about implementation are ongoing and we are awaiting final clearance from the Government and the NHS.

“We hope that we will be in a position to make an announcement in the next few weeks and that negotiations on the CPCF from April 2024 will commence soon after that.”

Morrison reminded attendees that the Primary Care Recovery Plan is “to improve access to primary care by investing £645 million over the remainder of the year”.

She said that by next year, this support service would be called “Pharmacy First” – a walk-in service combined with CPCS and 111 referrals.

The service would cover seven conditions – sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bit, impetigo, shingles and uncomplicated UTI in women.

The recovery plan is also an expansion of the “NHS Pharmacy Contraception Service” and the “NHS Community Pharmacy Blood Pressure Checks Service” with supporting improvements to the digital infrastructure.

“It’s a very significant investment in the digital infrastructure to enable community pharmacy to access patient records, update them and refer back to GPS,” she said.

Morrison gave an insight into the negotiations to the 260 delegates present at the 2023 Sigma conference.

She said: “The negotiations have been more complex than usual, because of the courage of government stakeholders on the government side which has led to delays.

“It’s had to have really high-level approval through Number 10 and the Treasury at a level,” and some “very significant work programmes has been the clinical pathways, led by NHS England reporting into the chief medical officer, and digital development including IT providers to both community pharmacy and general practice.”

“It is a complex and critical part of delivering this service,” Morrison added.

The CPE chief confirmed that the one-year community pharmacy contractual framework (CPCF) 2024-2025 will begin immediately.

Moreover, she laid the groundwork for the next CPCF that will “enable the evolution of the CPCF and of community pharmacy as a valued part of integrated primary care that delivers solutions for patients.”

Plan for future sustainability, vision and strategic project options with the King’s Field and Nuffield Trust shared with NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

“The spending review has another year to run, and we are waiting for the department and for NHS England to get their mandate, which is what they’re approved to be able to stand by the government.

“We’ve been asking for an uplift to the baseline contract – we’re currently doing a review of fees, new funding for increased volumes of the existing services,” she concluded.

She also highlighted CPE’s vision, from preventing ill health to supporting well-being, providing clinical care, living well with medicines and ensuring community pharmacy as part of an integrated primary care offer.

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