Pharmacy Representation Review: PSNC Reaction to RSG Proposals  

The Review Steering Group (RSG) has published its proposals for the future of community pharmacy contractor representation and support.

The proposals make 37 recommendations for the future of PSNC and the LPCs which the RSG says have been written to:

  • Strengthen governance;
  • Better align with the NHS;
  • Appropriately resource representatives; and
  • Strengthen collaboration.

The RSG has made 23 proposals regarding PSNC alone, and 10 for PSNC to consider jointly with the LPCs. For LPCs there are 6 recommendations to consider.

Contractors are being asked to consider the proposals and then vote on them during a three-week vote period beginning in the week commencing May 23rd. For further information on the vote, see the RSG website.

Contractors are also being invited to attend one of a series of events being run by the RSG which can be booked onto here.

Please Note: PSNC Chief Executive Janet Morrison will be attending the national RSG events – currently scheduled for Tuesday 3rd May and Wednesday 4th May – following requests from LPCs and contractors to hear from her on this topic.

Next Steps for Contractors

PSNC strongly encourages contractors to engage with the RSG’s work by reading the full proposals and attending an engagement event.

Recognising the significant current pressures on contractors, PSNC also welcomes the wide range of engagement options available including the Executive Summary of the proposals, animations and other communications.

Contractors are encouraged to sign up for either a regional RSG event, or one of the national events if they would like to hear more from PSNC CEO Janet Morrison:

Register to attend a Contractor Briefing Event on the RSG proposals

Next Steps for PSNC

The RSG has made clear that a number of its proposals – but not all – are for PSNC to consider actioning. While awaiting the outcome of the contractor vote – but recognising that the RSG’s proposals already reflect consensus across the sector which they have worked hard to gain – early planning work and discussion will begin to prepare for this.

Subject to contractors approving this as a path to change in the upcoming ballot, PSNC will publish further information setting out how it intends to respond to the RSG’s recommendations.

PSNC initiated the independent review more than two years ago and remains ready and committed to positive change. We look forward to seeing the outcome of the vote and to working collaboratively with LPCs and all others in the sector to make changes to strengthen our governance and negotiating capacity for the benefit of all community pharmacy contractors.

Janet Morrison, PSNC Chief Executive, said:

“In the two months since I became PSNC CEO I have seen clearly the pressure that all pharmacies are under, and I absolutely support any changes – including these RSG proposals – that will help us and the LPCs to get better outcomes for them. I can see the difficult job that the team and the LPCs are trying to do, and I believe these RSG proposals will help us to work better together.

I know reaching consensus has not been easy and I can see already that we face similar challenges when negotiating on behalf of the whole sector. But we must not underestimate the importance of coming together, including behind these proposals, and we must not let divisions distract and thwart the more important work we have to do on behalf of all community pharmacy owners.

At PSNC our eye is on the big prize, which is influencing what happens after the end of the current five-year CPCF deal. Many of the RSG’s proposals match exactly what I would be looking to do as the new Chief Executive of PSNC to try to get a better deal next time: strengthen our negotiating capacity, develop a clear vision for the sector and a wider influencing strategy to get there, bring together the trade associations and others to get behind that strategy, and improve our relationship with LPCs so that there is less duplication of efforts and better two-way conversation. Community pharmacy representatives must all be working towards the same goals, and the RSG’s proposals seem to be a positive step towards making that happen better.

Strengthening governance, improving collaboration, aligning with the NHS and ensuring contractors’ money is spent most effectively to get them the best value, must be principles that are difficult for anyone (in any sector) to argue against. I hope community pharmacy contractors will agree. A no vote on these proposals, in my view, simply makes us, as a sector, less credible in the eyes of the NHS and Government, who are ultimately the people we need to be focused on.

PSNC gave the RSG as much secretariat and financial support as it could, and despite being disappointed by the time the RSG took to get to agreement, I am pleased to now have a set of proposals that I believe all contractors should be able to get behind. Change is not easy, but it is vital, and I welcome the chance these proposals give to help us make improvements, while also allowing for a review following implementation to assess the appetite for any future changes.”

PSNC Vice-Chair, Bharat Patel, said:

“As a PSNC Member for some 15 years and an LPC Member for more than 20 years, I have seen close-hand the struggles that both organisations face – their pressures reflect those being felt across the sector, and as they said when PSNC first initiated the independent review, they need to find ways to work better together and to improve outcomes for contractors.

The RSG’s proposals seek to find those ways, and it is difficult to disagree with any of them. I’ll certainly be voting for these proposals, and I would encourage others to do likewise: if we do, we are setting a pathway to change which as both an independent contractor and PSNC vice-chair I am excited about and committed to. If we don’t, and choose instead to keep debating what might have been done differently, then we cannot complain when our representatives – local and national – find themselves unable to move forward, and unable to get better answers on our behalf.”

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