The new contract is simply part of the DHSC plan to force closures, says Sheffield pharmacist Chris Armstrong

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The clinical service agenda is pharmacy’s best hope for a change in fortunes, says NPA vice chair and chair of policy and practice, Andrew Lane

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By Alexander Humphries*

Even Donald Trump would find it difficult to call the new contract settlement “the best deal in the history of deals” but the ink is now dry and we have to make the most of it...

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By Alexander Humphries

For community pharmacists the last few years have been an emotional roller-coaster, from the pits of despair to the giddy heights of... mere despondency.

If you are anything like me, you will have been living hand-to-mouth, struggling to pay the bills at the end of the month, while the decision-makers from their insulated metropolitan bubbles look to strangle the sector financially because they perceive there are too many pharmacies.

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By patient representative Graham Prestwich

Four themes stood out for me at the symposium, which was organised by NHS England/ NHS Improvement.

Firstly, the language used, ‘deprescribing’, is not the best and not always helpful. Everyone I spoke to recognised this and, as a wide variety of people are involved, the most appropriate words may vary.

Clearer descriptions will and must emerge as this work progresses. What was agreed is that this is about improving health and wellbeing, about making sure that people for whom medicines are no longer beneficial are no longer prescribed them. Good quality care invariably costs less for everyone involved, and most of all for patients themselves. The healthier we feel, the better – and the less likely we are to require health services.

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By Simon Dukes, chief executive PSNC

You may well be thinking that primary care networks (PCNs) is just another primary care shake-up. In some ways it is – but there are some important ways in which this one is different for us.

First, this change is going to reroute a lot of primary care funding directly through networks of GP practices while specifying seven key services that these networks must deliver.

Some of these services are due for roll-out from April 2020 and they include structured medication reviews (by clinical pharmacists), enhancing health in care homes, anticipatory and personalised care, supporting early cancer diagnosis, CVD diagnosis and prevention, and local action to tackle inequalities.

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My mobile phone network knows that unless it keeps me happy I can easily (well, quite easily) move to another network. The same cannot be said about PMR systems.

It is very difficult to move to another supplier – particularly when the big companies provide pretty much the same offering in terms of price, service and technology. I just don’t get any sense that they view pharmacies as customers, and they seem to have little interest in the way that our businesses are changing.

Unless we can find a way to change this dynamic, the gap between what our technology can do, and what we want it to do, will grow and grow. This could potentially be crippling to pharmacy businesses in an age when customers are increasingly chasing digital by default and struggle to engage with analog pharmacy systems.

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Communities across Wales have a special affection for their local pharmacies, says NPA relationship manager for Wales Steve Simmonds

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*By Alexander Humphries

I’ve known this person for years. She is a dispenser, seen it all, tough as old boots, bless her – which made me sit up and take notice when she started to get upset when we chatted recently. Normally it would take a herd of rhinos to stop her, but this day she was really deflated.

“How is your new dispensing system working out for you?”, I asked. “Not good,” she said. “We all have had to cut our hours. I’ve had to apply for another job because I can’t afford to lose the hours.”

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By NPA head of communications Stephen Fishwick

The road to success is rarely one taken alone. That is why the vast majority of independent pharmacies choose to be members of the National Pharmacy Association. For nearly 100 years, we have brought community pharmacists together, to pool resources, learn from each other and move forwards together.

In tough times the sector needs to stick together to develop solutions that benefit everyone and underpin progress at scale. That’s why we’ve chosen Forwards in Partnership as the theme for our national conference in Manchester on June 20. The conference is a collaboration between the NPA and Pharmacy Magazine, so the idea of partnership is at the very heart of arrangements.

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