With Government diverting resource to handling the issue of Brexit, community pharmacy contract negotiations have been "pushed back", the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has confirmed.
The PSNC announcement came the morning after Theresa May’s Brexit deal suffered a historic 432-202 defeat in the House of Commons.
PSNC says this is not an “exclusive problem to pharmacy” but that it is nonetheless “concerned that this delay is now likely to continue”.
Commenting on the immediate uncertainty, PSNC chief executive Simon Dukes said: “Maintaining the supply of medicines to UK patients and community pharmacies must be a priority whatever the eventual approach to Brexit and we are pleased that dialogue on this has already been happening. PSNC, alongside the other community pharmacy representatives, has been working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to plan for all potential scenarios, including a no-deal Brexit.
“Given the ongoing uncertainty this work is now more critical than ever and PSNC will be deploying all necessary resources to it. While we hope that Parliament will, in time, be able to reach consensus on the approach to Brexit, our focus will remain on contingency planning with DHSC to ensure that patients can continue to access the medicines they need, when they need them, and that the impact on community pharmacies is minimised.”
PSNC continues to update contractors with Brexit guidance on its website.