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Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said it identified three key policy areas that will attract the focus of its work in 2019.

Support for Local Pharmaceutical Councils (LPC), harnessing technology to meet the needs of both patients and government and pharmacy funding will be at the heart of PSNC’s work next year, it said.

PSNC held its annual planning meeting last month in Birmingham to deliberate on the issues that community pharmacy will need to influence through 2019.

PSNC said it will be seeking views from LPCs to identify areas where they need further support, besides those offered currently. PSNC will also review the training that it offers to LPCs, said a summary report of the meeting.

On the technology front, the meeting considered in particular automated dispensing and hub and spoke dispensing, both of which seek to utilise automated dispensing for one or more pharmacies. Members felt that PSNC must have conversations with government about hub and spoke dispensing and technology.

The meeting also identified a wide range of technologies which could be of benefit to community pharmacies and their patients, including video consultations, websites, apps and emails, Alexa and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and scanning and safety technology.

The meeting recognised that the current funding levels shared between the existing number of pharmacies is not sustainable. However, it may not be possible to secure more money for doing the same things, given the NHS financial crisis and the wider economic situation, the report added.

The meeting asked community pharmacies to “undergo a period of transformative change” based on a vision set by government. PSNC said it will work with government and NHS on setting out this vision.

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