Pharmacy First locum fee deduction warning ‘not intended as a threat’
Exclusive: A recruitment company has told P3pharmacy that a controversial job posting that warned of potential fee deductions for locum pharmacists was “not intended to be perceived as a threat”.
The job posting, a section of which was shared on X by pharmacist Paul Summerfield on Wednesday February 7, included a note headed “CPCS referrals: All 4 of our pharmacies”.
This note stated: “All locums are expected to take part in the Pharmacy First service and will be asked to sign the Pharmacy First SOP and PGD before their shift.
“Any incompleted [sic] Pharmacy First services will be deducted (£15 per referral) from their invoice.”
Several pharmacists voiced their concern on X, with one describing it as a sign that “Pharmacy First is going to be abused”.
“Money making from Pharmacy First has begun at the expense of those delivering the service on the frontline,” said Mr Summerfield.
P3pharmacy reached out to specialist healthcare recruiter PPR UK, the source of the job posting shared by Mr Summerfield, to learn more.
Asked how the employer defines ‘incompleted referrals,’ a PPR UK spokesperson said: “This refers to Pharmacy First services that are not fully carried out or documented as per the company’s standard operating procedures and patient group directions.
“We do not have additional details on the specific criteria for complete vs incomplete consultations.”
Under both elements of the Pharmacy First scheme (urgent medicines supply and minor illness), consultations are judged to be eligible for the £15 service fee when one in a series of ‘gateway points’ is reached and the consultation recorded on the pharmacy’s Pharmacy First IT system.
The gateway criteria are complex, and in some cases depend on whether a patient is referred into the pharmacy or identified by the pharmacy team as potentially being eligible for one of the seven clinical pathways. For example, if a decision is taken to signpost a patient onwards to another prescriber but no other clinical gateway points are reached, a payment can be claimed if the patient was referred to the pharmacy externally, but not if the pharmacy identified the patient.
Asked about the reaction to the job posting on social media, PPR UK said: “The mention of potential payment deductions is a component of the hiring company’s policy and is not intended to be perceived as a threat.
“Rather, it serves as a standard procedure to ensure compliance with the Pharmacy First service requirements.
“We recognise that the communication could have been more carefully articulated…. [and] will take steps to refine our messaging to clearly convey expectations without causing any undue concern.”
PPR UK said the note about Pharmacy First deductions “stems directly from our client,” who they did not name but described as “a reputable organisation within the pharmacy sector”.
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