PSNC: Large majority of LPCs voted for NHS income-based levy
By Neil Trainis
The PSNC has revealed that 82 per cent of LPC representatives voted to support a levy system that is based on contractors’ NHS income rather than the number of items dispensed during last month’s LPC conference.
Pharmacy’s negotiator said a discussion on changes to how the levy is calculated, which was not open to the press, resulted in what it described as “a fairer method of calculating levies in future".
“This aligns with how LPCs gather their levies and recognises period of treatment differences and service delivery,” the PSNC said.
Concerns were expressed in the run-up to the conference that a levy system based or even partly based on prescription items would lead to significant levy hikes for contractors in areas where internet pharmacies are based because of the large number of prescriptions those online businesses generate.
The PSNC did not clarify whether “NHS income” entailed contractors’ revenue from services as well as prescriptions dispensed but confirmed to Independent Community Pharmacist that the levy was previously calculated using just prescription items.
The PSNC had said “the new calculation model will also allow for easier future recalculations in line with the shifts in NHS dispensing activity related to distance-selling pharmacies, ensuring a fairer distribution of costs between all contractors" but did not provide any more details on how this would be achieved.
In moving to a levy based on contractors’ NHS income, it appears LPCs voted to reject the RSG’s proposal calling for a recalculation of “levy apportionment, including examining levy distribution from DSPs and reallocating PSNC’s total required funding across LPCs according to each LPC’s latest share of total prescription items".
The PSNC also said it notified LPCs last week of their “indicative” levy for 2023-24 so they can start planning their budgets for the next financial year.
"The guidance figure is specific to each LPC to give them a close indication of the expected PSNC Levy for 2023-24. We know LPCs wanted to be able to start their business planning and that it would be helpful to provide this information as soon as possible. It has already been supplied to each individual LPC. Note, the total levy in 2023-24 will be the current levy plus £750,000," the PSNC told ICP.
It reiterated that it will not start receiving additional levies until April next year as well as its pledge to invest “a significant portion of its reserves” to start delivering changes that contractors supported in the recent vote.
Meanwhile, the PSNC said members reached an agreement to reduce the size of its committee from 32 to 24, including 12 multiple and 12 independent members, fulfilling another of the RSG’s proposals. Members will serve a maximum 12 years from April 1, 2023.
The 12 multiple members will be made up of nine Company Chemists’ Association and three “other multiple pharmacy contractors” while the independent members will be compromised of 10 independent regional representatives and two National Pharmacy Association members.
The PSNC said that starting with its elections next year, contractors with up to nine pharmacies will be regarded as independents and any member of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies "in this group will be part of the independent election process".
Contractors with 10 or more pharmacies will still be considered multiples and that group will also include any AIMp member with that number of branches. The PSNC said CCA and NPA members will continue to be appointed, not elected.