Govt delays mean PSNC can’t announce details of 2022-23 contract
The PSNC has agreed an “outline offer” for Year 4 of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework but cannot reveal the details because of Government hold-ups, it has said.
In a statement yesterday (August 4), the negotiator said it had reached agreement with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England earlier in the summer, following talks that began towards the end of spring.
However, recent changes to the ministerial teams at the DHSC and HM Treasury have led to delays in the offer receiving cross-government approval.
The PSNC said: “Although we understand that officials are pressing hard for approval and working in difficult circumstances, in the current situation it is not clear whether or when sign off and announcements will be forthcoming.”
This means the timetable for rollout agreed in the 2022-23 deal will not be met and so “individual elements of the timeline will necessarily need to be finalised once we are able to communicate to the sector,” it added.
PSNC chief executive Janet Morrison said she regretted not being able to offer contractors more certainty and will update them “as soon as we have more news”.
Ms Morrison said the negotiator has spoken to DHSC and NHSE highlighting that fact that the “economic situation is worsening for contractors even since we agreed the outline deal”.
“Unfortunately, both we and they are being impacted by wider political events and we have no clear timetable for when we will be able to make an announcement to the sector,” she said.
Commenting on the PSNC’s update, National Pharmacy Association chair Andrew Lane said: “The delay in communicating the result of contract negotiations for 2022/23 is unfair to pharmacies already dealing with rampant inflation and long-term underfunding.
“We are deep into the financial year and still contractors are none the wiser about the funding arrangements agreed behind closed doors. Whilst the current political upheaval might explain some of the delay, the problem is in fact more deep-seated and reflects an institutional neglect of the community pharmacy sector.
“Individual officials are no doubt doing their best to get the final sign-offs in difficult circumstances, but the whole set up of England’s contractual arrangements lacks the urgency and transparency our members deserve.
“Pharmacy contractors should not have to run their business affairs blind to the key financial numbers and fearing a clawback. The retrospective elements of pharmacy funding are a barrier to investment and careful planning.”