PSNC calls for pharmacy representation in Integrated Care Systems

PSNC has been working with the other primary care contractor representatives to press for fair representation for all primary care providers, including pharmacy, in new health and care systems.

The Health and Care Bill, currently being considered in Parliament, would shift the responsibility for managing contracts for primary NHS services to new Integrated Care boards (ICBs). In its current form, the Bill specifies that ICBs include a member nominated by General Practice, with no representation from any of the other primary care professions. This is despite GPs accounting for only about a third of the primary care workforce in England.

PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes joined with the leaders of the British Medical Association, British Dental Association, Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee and National Community Hearing Association, in writing to the Health and Care Bill Committee members to raise our concerns about these proposals.

The joint communication calls on the Government to ensure:

  • Primary care is represented and involved in decision-making at all levels of the Integrated Care Systems (ICS) through formalised roles;
  • These roles are remunerated to ensure parity of availability and voice with NHS Trusts, NHS staff, social care and public health colleagues;
  • Existing statutory Local Representative Committees (such as LPCs) have the right put forward nominations for those roles; and
  • ICBs and Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs) are required to publicly explain when they choose not to heed advice from local primary care bodies.

Communication- key asks

This follows on from joint work earlier this year.

PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said:

“All primary care providers must have a voice in the new Integrated Care Systems, including community pharmacies and their teams. Every day around 1.6 million people visit a pharmacy in England to access vital medicines, healthcare advice and other important services, such as NHS flu vaccinations. During the pandemic, public reliance on pharmacies has increased, reflecting the importance of pharmacy services to patients and local communities. It is therefore important that these new local systems recognise the critical role played by pharmacies and the whole of primary care, as well as general practice.”