The All-Party Pharmacy Group (APPG) has welcomed a letter sent to its chair, Sir Kevin Barron MP, from pharmacy minister Steve Brine, which indicates that the Government is ready to open negotiations on moving to a care-based contract for contractors in England.

The letter was in response to earlier communication from Sir Kevin to the minister and comes amid the APPG’s investigation into services for people with long-term health conditions.

Sir Kevin commented: “This is a strong indication that the Department of Health [and Social Care] will come to the negotiation table with a real ambition to develop services that make the best use of the community pharmacy network for patients and the NHS. It has been a long-standing aim of the group to move towards a contract that incentivises high quality care, rather than volumes of pills.”

In a statement, PSNC said proposals for the future of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework were discussed at its January meeting and these were put to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England. The negotiating body has yet to receive a mandate for the negotiations on funding for the 2018/19 financial year from NHS England and the DHSC, but “hopes these discussions will begin soon”.

PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe said: “PSNC’s ambition is to move to a funding framework that fairly rewards community pharmacies for offering a wide range of patient care and services including dispensing. This is in line with the sector’s shared vision for its future and would include allowing pharmacies to offer more patient care, particularly for people with long-term conditions.

“The minister has given no detail on what the substance of our negotiations with the DHSC and NHS England for 2018/19 will be, but we hope that we will be able to have substantive discussions on the future of community pharmacy.”

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