Fee for independent prescribing under pathfinder programme

Pharmacy press

We were asked to respond to suggestions that the Independent Prescribing (IP) Pathfinder Programme has been under-funded and pharmacies which had previously expressed interest are pulling out as a result.

Our Director of NHS Services, Alastair Buxton, said:

“The proposed funding and other aspects of the IP pathfinder programme has raised concerns for Community Pharmacy England, pharmacy owners and LPCs, and was discussed at our recent Committee meeting. We have fed back these concerns to NHS England, with particular emphasis on the low level of funding, which we do not think adequately reflects the costs and wider economic consequences of participation in the programme for pharmacy owners.

“The pathfinder sites are being commissioned as a local Enhanced service, which means the ICB, as commissioner, has a duty to consult the LPC on the contractual terms, but we do not consider a proper consultation can be undertaken, where the funding levels are being fixed by NHS England. This pathfinder programme has great strategic significance for the future of community pharmacy, with the use of independent prescribing within future services being at the heart of the Vision for community pharmacy, recently published by the Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund. If there was no scope for the local commissioners to modify funding within the programme, it would have been more appropriate for NHS England to have considered commissioning it as a National Enhanced Service, with the terms and funding being discussed with us.”