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PSNC chief: Some people 'just want pharmacy to go back to 2015'


PSNC chief: Some people 'just want pharmacy to go back to 2015'

Exclusive: Elements of the community pharmacy sector in England must be persuaded that far-reaching change is needed, PSNC chief Janet Morrison has said. 

Speaking on Pharmacy Magazine’s Talking Pharmacy podcast in November, Ms Morrison said that given the pressures facing pharmacies, there “will be people who just want to go back to 2015 and see funding be safe – but the world has changed and we need to change with it”.

The interview took place halfway through a consultation period seeking views on opportunities and barriers in the sector at present. The consultation closes this Friday (December 9).  

Asked whether the sector was in agreement about the need for fundamental change, Ms Morrison replied: “I don’t think they are and I think we really need to expose that.

“Sometimes the sector struggles to have really honest and open debate without people falling behind particular battle lines.”

She suggested that the negotiator’s work to develop a new strategy and vision would provide the “safe space” needed to reconcile different viewpoints, adding: “What we’re trying to do is really pull out that forward thinking. 

“When you’re under so much existential pressure in terms of your business and your survival it brings out the competitive edge and… [it’s] completely understandable.

“We may have to have a bit of challenge built into this process, but I think everyone recognises that we’re not going back to dispensing only. 

“Dispensing is an essential and fundamental part of what we do but we need to think about how we develop clinically in terms of the services we provide. 

Ms Morrison said the sector needs to make its funding case “from the patient perspective” as well as that of pharmacies, and that it must address questions of quality and cost effectiveness.

“I’m hoping we’ll find a number of ways to challenge people to think creatively and positively about the future – but also some honesty about where the challenges and blocks lie”.

She said that recruiting think tanks Nuffield Trust and the King’s Fund to help the PSNC develop its strategy would lend this work greater objectivity and “authority,” and would be helpful in persuading ministers and officials to fund the changes they wish to see in the sector.

“In the past, if we produced a report saying you need a sustainably funded community pharmacy sector, the Government and NHS could say ‘You would say that, wouldn’t you’," she commented. 

A report on the consultation will be produced in the spring, with a second consultation planned after that. The findings will be used to inform the PSNC’s negotiations ahead of the next contractual framework, which will begin in the 2024-25 financial year.

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