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Remuneration systems must allow pharmacies ‘to look forward and develop’

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Remuneration systems must allow pharmacies ‘to look forward and develop’

Numark chairman Harry McQuillan has urged the governments in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to create remuneration and reimbursement mechanisms that allow community pharmacies “to look forward and develop” as they can in Scotland.

In a statement on his LinkedIn page, McQuillan (pictured), drawing on his 17 years as Community Pharmacy Scotland chief executive, said he has been learning about “the intricacies of the respective funding arrangements across the four UK countries” since joining Numark and concluded the “reimbursement approach” in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should have “a tripartite role.”

Those three parts, he said, include allowing pharmacies to deliver their respective government’s health priorities, provide their health systems “with high quality medicines at a value-added price” and ensure pharmacy networks have “the confidence to fully deliver NHS services and invest in its estate.”

“My experience would suggest that whatever remuneration and reimbursement mechanism is put in place, it must form a stable platform for community pharmacy businesses and if not encourage, certainly allow, pharmacy owners to have the confidence to invest in their premises and their teams,” McQuillan said.

He suggested the “main difference” was the pharmacy network in Scotland is able to plan ahead while “others have the network always looking back, over its shoulder, so to speak, waiting for the next reduction in tariff pricing or clawback mechanism.”

Insisting he was not against a tariff mechanism, McQuillan said: “What I am advocating for is the recognition by governments and colleague community pharmacy owners that the reimbursement approach has (that) tripartite role.”

He added: “It is when that equilibrium gets out of balance that problems begin to surface and if those issues are not tackled at an early stage, the consequences are magnified with each passing year.

“Over a period of time, I can fully understand how the continual spectre of finances being removed from the system later drives a behaviour of caution and concern from pharmacy owners.

“Ideally what I would want to see is the respective funding mechanisms recognise the tripartite function I describe, be fully considered as an output of negotiations, and allow the network to look to a bright future that embraces and includes independent prescribing.”



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