The NPA has announced that it will not continue to fund Pharmacy Voice beyond the end of 2017.
NPA chairman Ian Strachan said the decision was intended to create a simpler structure for pharmacy representation and to allow a stronger voice for independent pharmacy to develop. "The independent sector must be able to make its own voice heard distinctively and powerfully," he said.
Mr Strachan said he hoped to encourage alignment of policy development and strategy within the sector with formal negotiation of the contractual framework. "This is to give us the best chance of achieving positive transformation in the sector – as a compelling alternative to the damaging approach being taken by the Department of Health and NHS England." Community pharmacy's leadership capability needed to be increased and made fit for purpose, he said.
"The mission is to move community pharmacy to a position where it is secure, thriving and fulfilling its potential – against the backdrop of current government policy, which threatens the opposite. This involves defining and describing what a sustainable, long term future looks like, persuading government and NHS to back the changes needed – including sustained public investment – and supporting pharmacies to meet the challenge of continuing improvement and consistent delivery of excellent care."
Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott said he was disappointed by the NPA's decision. "Over the next year, Pharmacy Voice’s small but unique team of policy, public affairs, communications, and governance professionals will continue to work, as we have always done, on behalf of the whole of the community pharmacy sector in England to promote the value of the network and support the role frontline pharmacy teams play within an integrated health and care system," he said.
“One of the many things we will seek to deliver over the next 12 months is to turn the vision of the Community Pharmacy Forward View into a reality. We will also continue the discussion we have been holding with our member organisations on the future representation of the sector. We have always believed in the need to maximise the combined resources of the network through more effective joint working, both between the sector’s national bodies and with other partner organisations. I’m disappointed that this announcement has pre-empted the conclusion of some of those discussions, but my team and I remain committed to participating in dialogue on the future of a sector we care so deeply about."
Sue Sharpe, PSNC chief executive, said: “The community pharmacy sector has been facing unprecedented challenges in the last year and it is understandable that the community pharmacy organisations will look at whether they should make changes so they can represent their members’ interests as well as possible in the future. PSNC is also in the process of reviewing its own structures. We will continue to work as closely as possible with the NPA and the whole sector.”