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AIMp is misinforming its members about our proposals, says RSG

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AIMp is misinforming its members about our proposals, says RSG

By Neil Trainis

The Review Steering Group overseeing proposed reforms to pharmacy representation has accused the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies of misinforming its members about the make-up of the PSNC and the consequences of a vote to reject the proposals.

In a briefing note sent to its members, AIMp said there were positives and concerns with the proposals. On one hand, it said, the plans could lead to improved governance, more equitable contractor funding and allow funding to be directed “where it could be best used.”

However, AIMp said it was concerned that “non-proportional representation on the elected PSNC Board is a big barrier” and claimed that 50 per cent of representation belonged to the Company Chemists’ Association even though “CCA companies only hold 40 per cent of the market share of ODS (organisation data service) codes".

Rejecting AIMp’s claims about CCA representation on the negotiating body, the RSG said: “The PSNC committee is currently evenly balanced so that it is 50 per cent independents (regional representatives and NPA) and 50 per cent multiple pharmacies (this includes CCA and non-CCA multiples, which may include AIM representatives).

“The Committee is constituted in this way to ensure balance between the independent and multiple sectors, so that no one sector can make decisions on its own: this is further strengthened by a requirement for constitutional changes to pass by a two-thirds majority.”

AIMp also warned its members that a ‘no’ vote will mean the proposals are rejected and talks “will need to resume until all concerns are addressed".

The RSG again rejected AIMp’s claim and said a ‘no’ vote will signal the end of discussions at that point because “there is no further resource available to fund the RSG and its terms of reference expire at the point the vote is held".

“A ‘no’ vote on the proposals would mean that contractors do not want to take forward the suggested improvements to PSNC and the LPCs. As such, PSNC and the LPCs will not be required to make any changes although they may choose to do so individually,” the RSG said.

It added: “Indeed, the contractors on the group agree that no additional levy monies should be spent on considering issues that they and the sector have been unable to resolve over the last 15 months.”

AIMp chief executive Leyla Hannbeck told Independent Community Pharmacist it is not encouraging its members how to vote before voting closes on June 17.

“We are not saying we are unhappy with things. We have outlined some pros and some cons. We have not gone out there, like for example the CCA and the NPA, to say to our members to vote a certain way,” she said.

“What we have done is to say to our members ‘look, you are very intelligent people, you should look at things, scrutinise things, ask the right questions and based on the questions, choose which way you vote.”

She insisted the PSNC Board should be “driven by contractors not any trade association.”

“If it’s driven by contractors, because they are the ones who are funding the PSNC, then it’s a much better, fairer system.”

She added: “They’re saying if you vote anything else but ‘yes,’ there’s not going to be any changes coming in. My question is why? Why are you talking to people? Why haven’t I got a voice about that then? The proposals are making it very difficult for people.”

On the RSG rejecting AIMp’s claim that a ‘no’ vote will mean talks will need to resume, Ms Hannbeck said: “Contractors are the funding people of PSNC. If they’re not happy with all of the proposals, would it not be democratic to say ‘these are the concerns’ and go back to the table and change things?

“Who’s making that decision about the end of the road if you don’t vote yes or you don’t vote no? It should be up to contractors to decide when it’s the end of the road and what change they want. They are contractors who are funding the whole shebang. They should be able to have a voice in this shouldn’t they?”

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