RSG proposals: it's decision time for contractors
Voting will soon be open on the proposals put forward by the Review Steering Group on the future of PSNC and LPCs, says RSG member Mark Burdon.
As a member of the Review Steering Group I have been working with nine other contractor representatives across community pharmacy to find ways PSNC and LPCs can work better together.
At the heart of the proposals is a desire to strengthen PSNC at the national level, so that it can rise to the growing challenge of negotiating on our behalf, and also to have a stronger network of better resourced LPCs, so that they too can represent us as powerfully as possible at a local level.
The RSG proposals mean governance changes for LPCs and PSNC. This is long overdue. Both are funded by contractors, and we should know they are being governed effectively and transparently. Our proposals include some really significant changes such as setting up a LPC Forum to advise PSNC, improvements in transparency and listening better to contractors.
The proposals are intended to benefit all contractors – not small ones or large ones, or trade bodies, or anyone else representing groups of contractors.
Different parts of the sector may not like everything within our proposals, but taken together, we believe these are positive changes that in the long-term will benefit all of us: a pharmacy vision, a new negotiating strategy, and all of us collectively making the case to Government.
When I was first elected to PSNC 16 years ago, the job was a relatively easy one – funding was secure, we weren’t competing with other healthcare professionals, and we had just one organisation to negotiate with.
Now the matrix of stakeholders that pharmacy needs to influence is much more complex. We must gather evidence in a way that was never needed in the past. We need economic cases and public support, and we must influence a far wider and more resistant network of people. That all needs money – money to bring in extra expertise and advice, to help us develop new negotiating strategies to match our new world.
As public finances become ever tighter, we now need our national negotiator, which still brings home the vast majority of our income, to be more powerful than it has ever been, supported by a strengthened and rationalised LPC network.
Over to you
It is now over to contractors to vote on the proposals. This might all just sound like the same old people having the same old conversations, but this is a pivotal moment. If we don’t have PSNC and the LPCs working as effectively as possible, it will impact our bottom lines for years to come.
Change will not be easy but getting this right should be better for all of us. I would urge you to learn more about the proposed way ahead – and to support it.