The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England have published a letter to community pharmacy owners updating them on the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) arrangements.
The letter brings together updates on services, funding and the imposition of regulatory changes in this financial year as previously announced.
There are a few points in the letter contractors may want to note:
The £645m investment in community pharmacies as was announced this week and which is now the subject of negotiations.
The welcome commitment to continuing work to alleviate pressures on the sector.
The commitment to reviewing the possibility of permanently removing the requirement for a practice-based audit.
The continued rollout of the NHS Pharmacy Contraception Service – this service is now the subject of negotiations and we have issued the following FAQ on it:
Q. Should we now be offering the NHS Pharmacy Contraception Service?
Government and the NHS hope that the sector will now feel more confident in offering this service and it is indeed very positive that they have listened to and responded to PSNC’s concerns about the affordability of it. But until the detailed negotiations have concluded we won’t fully know what this means for the service and its affordability, so for now PSNC’s position is unchanged. We will review this position in due course.
The removal of the VAT allowance on SSPs. From 1st June 2023, contractors will need to reclaim VAT paid on the purchase of medicines supplied in accordance with an SSP, as they ordinarily do for medicines dispensed on prescriptions.
The changes to price concessions, including to roll forward concessions agreed later in the month. PSNC is in discussion with DHSC on a package of measures aimed at improving the price concessions process, although we still believe that more fundamental reform of the reimbursement system is needed.
Discount deduction arrangements: this follows on from the imposed increase in generic rate in April which PSNC strongly objected to. We are in continuing discussions with DHSC about levels of discount deduction and retained margin.
Category A: this has been the subject of ongoing discussions and no agreement has yet been reached. DHSC want to improve their approach to setting reimbursement prices for Category A medicines, but PSNC is deeply concerned about any reforms given the instability in medicines supply chains and variability in margin delivery.
Over-delivered medicines margin is continuing to be recouped by DHSC despite our warnings that this could not come at a worse time for the sector given the current pressures.