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Numark chairman: Why has NHSE failed to sanction DSPs that break regulations?


Numark chairman: Why has NHSE failed to sanction DSPs that break regulations?

Numark Chairman Harry McQuillan has insisted the face-to-face nature of Pharmacy First provided in bricks-and-mortar pharmacies offers patients more benefits than distance-selling pharmacies and questioned why NHS England has failed to sanction DSPs that break the regulations.

McQuillan (pictured) said DSPs had become “a controversial issue” because Pharmacy First allows remote consultations but he suggested the public “prefer a readily accessible walk-in service with a healthcare professional they can talk to face-to-face.”

Accusing NHSE of failing to apply its own regulations, he said: “Pharmacy regulations are playing catch-up with digital innovation.” Citing research by the Company Chemists’ Association that showed over 70 per cent of ‘pseudo’ DSPs only provide a service to patients within a 10-mile radius of the remote pharmacy they operate from, McQuillan added: “(The) regulations make it clear that in order to operate a DSP, you need to provide a service across the whole of England. Why no NHSE audit, challenge or regulatory sanctions?”

NHSE has said local NHS teams will investigate when there is evidence that a company is failing to "deliver medicines to anyone who requests them anywhere in England." It said if any company is found to be breaking its regulations, "appropriate action will be taken."

McQuillan said that for Pharmacy First to succeed just as similar schemes have in Scotland and Wales, “a robust regulatory regime” was needed “to ensure that all parts of the contractor base are delivering and complying with their relevant regulations.”

“What we need is a clear, holistic and coherent strategy for community pharmacy in the next 10 years as part of wider primary healthcare provision reforms,” he said.


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