The Review Steering Group (RSG) has announced that the thresholds for its contactor vote on the future of PSNC and the LPCs have been met.
The RSG reports that 68.3% of the sector (contractors representing 7,601 ODS Codes) took part in the vote, and that 88.6% of those voting (6,732 votes) did so in support of the RSG’s proposals.
The result of the RSG vote sets a clear direction from contractors for the future. PSNC will consider the vote outcome and its next steps at the July PSNC Meeting with a view to updating contractors after that meeting, and to putting together a more detailed action plan and timelines for the sector over the summer.
Although PSNC will not receive any extra proportion of levy funds until 2023/24, some of the work, such as developing a new vision for the sector and supporting LPCs through the next election cycle is both critical and urgent, and this will commence imminently.
The RSG has kept PSNC Members informed of its work throughout the process, and PSNC would like to thank the contractors on the RSG for the very difficult work that they have carried out. These thanks should also be extended to all contractors, LPCs and others who have engaged with and supported the work of the RSG over the past 15 months.
PSNC is very conscious that contractors will likely have questions about the proposals and what happens next, and this will be considered alongside other actions at the July meeting.
PSNC CEO Statement
PSNC Chief Executive Janet Morrison said:
“As the new Chief Executive of PSNC I am excited about taking forward these the proposals for change: it is clear to me how much community pharmacies are struggling at present, and strengthening our negotiating capacity, building a stronger evidence base, and improving our governance and dialogue with contractors will all help us to make a stronger case for the sector.
“Contractors have told us they want community pharmacy to be a forward-looking, constructive and collaborative sector. These changes should help us achieve this: I’m so pleased that the vast majority of contractors agree.
“I know that PSNC is committed to improving contractor support and representation, and we are looking forward to discussing this in more detail at our upcoming meetings in early July and in September. By the autumn, I want to share with the sector our action plan and progress to date. You can expect this to include developing a collaborative vision for community pharmacy; work on our influencing and engagement strategies; work to strengthen our negotiating strategy and to enhance the data and evidence we can commission to support our case; and work to strengthen our support for LPCs.
“PSNC’s resources and capacity for the job that it does remain very constrained, but although PSNC will not receive any additional levy funds this year, we will start work on some of these urgent jobs immediately. And in the future, we will use any additional levy funds to support work that strengthens our hands in the negotiations. Building high-quality evidence is not easy or cheap – for instance, a large-scale cost of service inquiry would cost at least £500,000 – so PSNC Members are likely to continue to face difficult decisions prioritising how resources are best spent.
“I would like to thank the contractors who acted as RSG Members for the phenomenal amount of work that they have done on this over the past 15 months – we know this has not been an easy task, and that often it must also have felt a thankless one.
“Finally, thank you to all contractors who have engaged with this process, in whatever way they did so. As a sector we must now look to the future, harnessing our energies to promote the sector, agree on a shared vision for where we want to go, and work together to convince the NHS and Government to help us turn that vision into a reality. As we approach the end of the five-year deal, there is much to aim for.”
Background Information about the RSG
The RSG was established as a group of contractors in November 2020, following discussions between PSNC and the LPCs on how the findings of the independent Wright Review into both organisations should be taken forward, and how this could be funded. Contractor organisations and representatives (CCA and AIM, and the independent and NPA representatives on PSNC) were asked, in accordance with the RSG Terms of Reference to nominate contractors to sit on the RSG.
The RSG was tasked with exploring the issues in the Wright Review and talking to the wider sector to propose a way forward. The Group was not a decision-making body and it was asked to come up with a mechanism to gain wider contractor approval for any proposals it put forward – this was the contractor vote. The RSG set out its plans for the vote, following wider discussions with the sector, in autumn 2021 and these are available here.
After 15 months of work funded jointly by PSNC and the LPCs, including talking to the sector at several rounds of contractor engagement events, the RSG set out its final proposals in April 2022. The vote on these proposals began on Friday 27th May 2022 and ended on Friday 17th June 2022.