The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has revealed that it has been in urgent and wide-ranging discussions with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) on the support and measures needed in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.
These include discussions on an urgent funding rescue package, recognising the enormous financial pressures on contractors at this time and the need to ensure that the pharmacy network can continue to stay open and serving patients.
PSNC has listed the following points as ‘key wins’ as a result of the negotiations to date:
- The inclusion of pharmacy teams on the Government’s list of key workers.
- A relaxation in the rules around pharmacy closed-door working.
- The postponement of key services such as Hepatitis C testing and CPCF pilots.
- The postponement of the Pharmacy Quality Scheme.
- Extension of the deadline for the NHS Data Security and Protection Toolkit.
- Confirmation that NHSE&I will not take action against contractors who have not undertaken a clinical audit or the CPPQ, or not updated documents such as their practice leaflet.
PSNC has said that discussions on many other ‘crucial’ topics are ongoing. Below is a list of live negotiation areas:
- The national Pandemic Delivery Service.
- Suspension of further pharmacy services.
- An emergency cash injection and funding protection for closed pharmacies.
- The NHS Emergency Supply Service.
- Protections for staff re-deployment.
Simon Dukes, PSNC Chief Executive, commented:
“In response to the huge amounts of feedback we are receiving from LPCs and worried contractors around COVID-19, we have today published our negotiations action list.
“The list is not yet agreed policy with Government, but we hope it shows you the scope of the discussions that we are having with DHSC and NHSE&I and gives some reassurance that we are working on all of the matters that you need clarity on.
“We can’t say when decisions on all of these topics will be made, and some will take longer than others, but rest assured that we are continually in contact with our colleagues at DHSC and NHSE&I, including having direct contact with the Minister, and we are pressing the on the need to achieve urgent progress.”