We’ve been talking to the wrong people in Government, says PSNC chief
PSNC chief executive Janet Morrison has said she wants to shift the negotiator’s lobbying approach and focus on reaching “higher levels” within Government and public bodies.
Speaking at the LPC Conference in Manchester last Thursday – the day the terms of Years 4 and 5 of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework were announced – Ms Morrison said the negotiator will be investing “in a strategy that actually gets us to the higher level of policy makers and decision makers before we get into the contractual framework”.
“We need to be influencing Number 10 and HM Treasury… as well as the think tanks they listen to,” she added, explaining that in her view by the time PSNC sits down to discussions with Government and NHS officials they have already been instructed on funding parameters by the Treasury, making contractual talks an “administrative process”.
A planned £1.5m increase to the PSNC’s annual budget will be used to fund this lobbying activity, she said. The negotiator has begun investing from its own reserves this year, and in the near future will be seeking additional moneys from LPCs in order to fund this activity.
As well as a new influencing strategy, the money will be used to fund work such as “economic modelling and the alternative financial models we need to think about that could frame a new contract”.
She said the sector needs to move away from the “dead hand of the five year deal,” adding: “We’ve only got a certain amount of time before the next contractual framework but we’ll be investing heavily in this activity and I think you’ll start to see that as we start rolling it out.”
Asked why policymakers have been reluctant to shift their views on pharmacy and its capabilities, Ms Morrison said: “The Treasury viewpoint that has been running for some time is that they don’t want to put any more money into the NHS – they believe it is a bottomless pit that doesn’t get results.
“Also, we are one of several primary care contracts, there is competition over where finite resources are spent.”
Ms Morrison also referred to new health secretary Therese Coffey’s recent comments on pharmacies taking on more work from GP surgeries, saying: “She would say that, wouldn’t she?
“We’ve had a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with the Department on this. We really want to stop this overclaiming of what they’re delivering through community pharmacies when they’re not funding us properly for it.”