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RSG publishes proposals for better pharmacy representation

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The Review Steering Group (RSG) has published its proposals to reform representation and support provided by PSNC and LPCs to community pharmacies in England.

Contractors will have four weeks to read and digest the recommendations before a three-week voting period commences on Friday, May 27.

The RSG said the proposals with 37 recommendations are a result of 15 months of “extensive listening, exploratory work, analysis, and discussion” across the sector which have come about nearly two years after Professor David Wright and his team at the University of East Anglia published a report on contractor representation and support in England.

The proposals make recommendations to strengthen governance, better align the sector with the wider NHS, appropriately resource representatives and promote collaboration.

While 23 proposals are regarding PSNC alone, there are six recommendations for the LPCs to consider with 10 will require both parties to consider jointly.

PSNC CEO Janet Morrison said she “absolutely” supports these proposals which could “help us and the LPCs to get better outcomes” to all pharmacies, adding: “I believe these RSG proposals will help us to work better together”.

“Strengthening governance, improving collaboration, aligning with the NHS and ensuring contractors’ money is spent most effectively to get them the best value, must be principles that are difficult for anyone (in any sector) to argue against.

“I hope community pharmacy contractors will agree. A no vote on these proposals, in my view, simply makes us, as a sector, less credible in the eyes of the NHS and Government, who are ultimately the people we need to be focused on.”

The proposals include a renewed focus on bringing local and wider expertise to central decision-making so PSNC can work with “one vision and strategy” for the entire sector.

PSNC vice-chair, Bharat Patel, said: “I’ll certainly be voting for these proposals, and I would encourage others to do likewise: if we do, we are setting a pathway to change which as both an independent contractor and PSNC vice-chair I am excited about and committed to.

“If we don’t, and choose instead to keep debating what might have been done differently, then we cannot complain when our representatives – local and national – find themselves unable to move forward, and unable to get better answers on our behalf.”

Commenting on the RSG proposals, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) said it would “consult with our members over the coming weeks before declaring our final position”.

It added: “The NPA will support members in understanding the implications of these proposals. We encourage our members to attend the PSNC sessions, and will ourselves organise a ‘Townhall’ meeting in May to facilitate debate within the independent sector.”

Malcolm Harrison, chief executive of the Company Chemists’ Association, welcomed the publication of the proposals and hoped that for a better resourced PSNC” so its negotiating capacity is improved.

He said: “We are confident that these proposals will provide stronger governance, better representation both nationally and locally and greater value for money for contractors.”

The proposals are available on the RSG website here.

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