NPA has asked PSNC for business plan ‘many times’
By Neil Trainis
The National Pharmacy Association’s director of external and corporate affairs Gareth Jones has insisted his organisation has repeatedly asked the PSNC for a business plan outlining how it will spend the additional £1.5m it is due to receive from LPCs across England from the levy year beginning April 2024.
Mr Jones told Independent Community Pharmacist during the Pharmacy Show that the NPA supported the Review Steering Group’s vote on the basis that pharmacy’s negotiator produces a plan which he insisted was “an important part of the picture.”
Describing the £1.5m as “a very significant uplift in funding for the national body,” Jones said: “The NPA supported the RSG vote because we felt that although it didn’t give us everything we wanted, it gave us enough that we felt it was the right way to move forward and make some changes and create some momentum behind some positive changes.
“We still asked for a business plan to explain how this £1.5m is going to be spent and actually what the outcomes will be from it. At the moment, that hasn’t been produced and that’s a really important part of it that hasn’t come out and we’ll certainly be asking for it.”
Asked if the NPA had “prodded” the PSNC for an answer on when it will produce a plan, Mr Jones said: “Yes, certainly, we’ve many times said ‘this is an important part of the picture.' We supported the vote on the proviso that this piece of work would be done.
“You’ll have to ask the PSNC actually when it’s going to come out. I think they’ve accepted that this is an important part of the picture. All we’d like to see is not just information on how the money will be spent but actually the outcomes because a lot of this is about holding our representative bodies to account at local and national level.
“Unless we have a clear set of accountabilities, that’s going to be difficult to do. We want to see how the money is going to be spent and what it’s going to achieve.”
Kent local pharmaceutical committee chair Amish Patel recently said he was concerned by “a lack of detail” from the PSNC on how it will use the additional money from LPCs.
In response to Jones’ remarks, the PSNC chief executive Janet Morrison did not mention a business plan specifically but told ICP it is still “committed” to publishing more details on how it will deliver the changes contractors voted for through its transforming pharmacy representation programme (TAPR) this autumn.
Speaking at the LPC conference in September, she indicated that at least some of the monies gained through the levy increase will be used to recruit think tanks to assist the negotiator in its lobbying, but no breakdown has yet been produced.
Ms Morrison told ICP the PSNC will soon launch “a new vision and strategy for community pharmacy” which will outline “a medium-to-long-term future for the sector and will be critical in laying the ground for the next CPCF negotiations.”
“It will also allow PSNC to develop a new negotiating strategy which in our view needs to come before budget allocations are finalised,” she said.
“That said, as you would expect, the Committee are already planning for our budgets in 2023-24 when half of the additional funds from LPCs will start to come onstream, and we will publish information on our priorities alongside the coming updates on our TAPR work.”