Pharmacy Show and LPC Conference hear funding latest

Community Pharmacy England CEO Janet Morrison gave an update at this week’s Pharmacy Show while other members of the team engaged with visitors to our exhibition stand. Thank you to all community pharmacy owners and others who took this opportunity to engage with us, sharing views and asking questions.

In a Q&A session on the Monday afternoon, Janet covered a range of topics, addressing the current emergency situation in pharmacies as well as looking to the future. Top of the agenda was the £645m investment promised by Government, which Janet hopes will be flowing into pharmacies very soon, pending the outcome of the current negotiations.

Credit: The Pharmacy Show 2023

Janet indicated that the Negotiating Team, which includes pharmacy owners and representatives from all sizes of business, have been working through a huge amount of critical detail checking exactly what the money covers, how it links to current funding, and how we can make any new services fit for both now and the future. The answers to these questions will have far-reaching implications for the sector for many years to come.

We need this money to start flowing to the sector urgently, and the negotiations have already taken longer than we would have liked given the complex matrix of stakeholders that DHSC and the NHS have to manage, and the need for accompanying clinical pathways and PGDs to be signed off by many senior NHS officials and the Chief Medical Officer.

Pharmacy owners across the board are feeling overwhelmed by ongoing pressures and Janet explained that, as Community Pharmacy England is a committee of pharmacy owners, she is acutely aware of these pressures.

The squeeze is forcing pharmacy closures in areas of need and we have been continually telling Government that they will regret it if support is not provided. Janet said she is using every opportunity to alert Ministers to the fact that they are now in an emergency situation.

Janet spoke of her attendance at both the Conservative and Labour party conferences, noting that both parties had supported the need for a shift in resources to support long-term condition management, health inequalities and prevention. The direction of travel politicians are taking will put more health services out into the community and despite the huge fiscal challenges facing any future Government this is a positive sign for pharmacies which we will make the most of.

Looking further ahead, Janet also spoke about the independent Vision for Community Pharmacy, a report we commissioned and are looking to take forward in the coming months by continuing to engage with influential stakeholders and raising with decision-makers.

The Vision forms part of our ongoing wider workplans to:

  1. Raise community pharmacy’s profile;
  2. Highlight its value;
  3. Show its ambition (through the Vision);
  4. Demonstrate its economic value; and
  5. Make the case for more funding and support.

Janet stressed the value of using the Vision as a way to open doors, with two leading healthcare influencers saying what is possible with more investment providing a powerful piece of evidence for us. This is another platform in our work to influence the main political parties as we look to embed our goals into their manifestos.

Speaking after her Pharmacy Show session, Janet Morrison said:

“I was delighted to attend this year’s Pharmacy Show and have the chance to speak directly to pharmacy owners; I just wish I’d been able to talk about the outcome of the Recovery Plan negotiations. We are so close but the minutiae is important to get right to protect the future prospects for pharmacy services.

“As the end of the five-year deal draws nearer, many were eager to hear about the next CPCF. We have been telling politicians from all sides that things have reached crisis point: community pharmacies are in an emergency situation and they need sustainable funding, no matter who is in Government. Our challenge will be to influence future Government spending plans to benefit struggling pharmacies – a tough but vital job.

“One way we’ll be doing that is through the Vision for Community Pharmacy we commissioned, and it was pleasing to hear the positivity from others about the report. Many people told us how valuable it was to have our ambitions clearly laid out and presented in a way that would interest commissioners. In the coming months we will strive to get as many influential stakeholders as possible talking about and taking action towards the Vision.”

Elsewhere at the Pharmacy Show

This year the Pharmacy Show also saw Community Pharmacy England’s Committee and Executive Team take part in some of the key sessions to discuss core pharmacy issues and share updates about our work in these areas. We also listened to presentations from others and spoke to many people working in the pharmacy sector.

Thank you to everyone who visited our stand throughout the duration of the Show. We welcomed around 250 visitors, including pharmacy owners, team members, and other professionals working in pharmacy and other healthcare industries. All of these conversations help us in our work to champion community pharmacy and build a better future for the sector.

Our 2023 LPC Conference

Last week also marked the annual conference of LPC representatives run by Community Pharmacy England. As well as a keynote speech on negotiations and plans for the future from CEO Janet Morrison, the agenda covered important topics such as Integrated Care Systems (ICS), the Vision for Community Pharmacy, and governance improvements.

With ICS now a big player in local commissioning, Professor Claire Fuller, Medical Director of Primary Care at NHS England, gave a presentation about how she sees community pharmacy embedding itself into the new landscape. This flowed into a discussion session where LPCs could explore how to use the Vision to best effect in their localities, working towards implementing enablers and removing barriers at a local level.

The agenda also included a talk on digital developments from NHS England’s Assistant Director of Digitising Primary Care and a session on improving governance across LPCs. There was also time in the day for LPCs to highlight other topics that are important to them and to put their questions to Community Pharmacy England’s Leadership Team.

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