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By Richard Thomas, Editor, Pharmacy Magazine

The contract talks between PSNC and the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England remain shrouded in secrecy but some strong clues are beginning to emerge.

Pharmacy’s negotiators are pushing hard for a multi-year settlement like the one the GPs have, while urgent care is a key priority for the NHS as underlined in the Long Term Plan. A national minor illness referral service is very much on the cards.

The Scottish and Welsh Governments recognised some time ago the benefits that such schemes offer patients and the NHS, so it is good to see England catching up at last. However, where Scotland and Wales diverge from England is over medicines optimisation in long-term conditions.

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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 Richard Thomas, Editor, Pharmacy Magazine

This month’s Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s conference had an interesting and forward-looking programme.

Exploring the role of pharmacy in the NHS Long Term Plan, there were sessions on using data to improve care quality, pharmacogenomics and wellness through social prescribing. Exactly the sort of progressive agenda that community pharmacists are forever being urged to engage with and, as such, highly relevant to our readership.

We would like to tell you more – but unfortunately we can’t.

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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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