Gateshead Council have informed us that their substance misuse contract has been awarded to CGL. Details are in the letter below. The letter is self explanatory and the council have told us that current contract arrangements with pharmacies delivering supervised consumption are not affected.
You can click here to download a copy.
Chiesi Ltd have asked us to let Pharmacists know about an COPD educational update event they have got running. The event is on the 20th September at the Newcastle Marriott. The event invite is below. If you are interested in attending please contact David Paterson (details contained in the flyer). Any queries regarding this event should also be directed to David.
A PDF of the the invite can be download by clicking either of the images above.
The Court of Appeal has today upheld the High Court ruling that the reduction in funding imposed on community pharmacies in October 2016 was not unlawful.
This means that the current community pharmacy funding arrangements will remain in place pending negotiations with PSNC for this financial year and beyond.
PSNC and the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) both brought Judicial Review cases following the Secretary of State’s decision to impose funding reductions on community pharmacies in October 2016. In May 2017 a High Court judge ruled that the decision to impose the reductions had not been unlawful.
PSNC and the NPA both then sought to appeal this judgment. The Appeal cases were heard in May by three Court of Appeal Judges – Lord Justice Irwin, Lord Justice Hickinbottom and Sir Jack Beatson – and their judgment was handed down at 10am today (Thursday 23rd August).
The three Court of Appeal judges upheld the initial High Court judgment, agreeing that the funding cuts and consultation relating to them were not unlawful. In dismissing the Appeals, the Judges said that “there is no principle of law” which would render the funding changes unlawful, “even if a reduction in the numbers [of community pharmacies] was expected”.
Responding to PSNC’s concern about the Department of Health’s (DH’s) reliance on an assumed 15% operating margin for community pharmacies, the Judges agreed: “It was regrettable that the process was not more open.” But they found that “since no such margin was treated as a critical point in the decision, the point could not render the process unfair.”
The NPA’s appeal was also dismissed.
The judgment means the changes made to community pharmacy funding, which implemented a reduction in funding and introduced a new Single Activity Fee, among other changes, will remain in force.
We expect that funding negotiations for 2018/19 will begin shortly and PSNC’s ambition is to return to a collaborative working relationship with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England on funding and other matters. The process of rebuilding relationships has been an early priority for PSNC’s new Chief Executive, Simon Dukes.
Further information is included in a summary of the judgment and a selection of Frequently Asked Questions available in PSNC Briefing 044/18: Summary of the Judicial Review Appeal judgment (August 2018).
PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said:
“Since joining PSNC I have been impressed by the positive impact that pharmacies are having every day on so many patients, in some cases quite literally transforming their lives. But I have also heard about the very great personal costs of this as you struggle with the current financial pressures, so I know that you will be disappointed by today’s news about our legal action.
For me, the priority has always been to focus on the future and on getting the best possible deal for patients and community pharmacies when our negotiations with HM Government begin. To achieve that we need to work collaboratively with Government, so my team and I will be continuing our work to rebuild strong working relationships with NHS England, DHSC and with anyone else working for Government.
Community pharmacies play an immensely valuable role in helping patients and local communities and we are in a strong position to do more to help both them and the NHS. In recent months it has been particularly encouraging to hear Ministers and the Prime Minister speaking positively about community pharmacies and recognising the important work that you do. We will need to manage changes, whether embracing technology or offering new clinical services, and PSNC will continue to work through these issues on your behalf.”
PSNC Vice-Chair and independent community pharmacy contractor Bharat Patel said:
“PSNC still very much regrets that we felt that the only option left to us back in 2016 was to take legal action. We have always sought to work constructively and collaboratively with the NHS and Department of Health and Social Care and that remains our strategy to get the best deal for community pharmacy.
As a community pharmacist myself, I am disappointed that the judgment has not found in our favour. However, the process has helped to highlight some important ways in which future consultations on community pharmacy funding should be carried out, and we look forward to working more constructively with DHSC on that basis in the future.
Through the Judicial Review process, we have also gained some useful insight into DHSC thinking and the challenges that are ahead for all of us as the NHS tries to set out a ten-year plan that meets rising demand and embraces innovations such as digital models of care.
PSNC is now focused on the future and on working as closely as possible with DHSC, NHS England and wider Government to find ways to develop pharmacies that benefit pharmacies and their patients, while helping to meet Government objectives. We have been very encouraged to hear the new Secretary of State recognising the value of community pharmacies in helping people to stay healthy and we look forward to working with Government to ensure that pharmacies can continue to do this.”
Following our NPA event earlier in the year which covered FMD and its implications for pharmacy please see the latest update below.
Following its latest meeting, the UK Community Pharmacy Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) Working Group is advising that uncertainties related to Brexit mean that all pharmacies need to carefully consider which systems they choose to verify the authenticity of the medicines they supply. Authentication of medicines under FMD will start from 9th February 2019.
Arvato, part of the Bertelsmann group, has recently signed a contract with SecurMed UK to provide the UK FMD system. Community pharmacies should be able to start getting connected to the system from September this year. The UK system will connect to the central EU FMD hub.
Commenting after the meeting, Chairman of the working group and NPA Board member Raj Patel, said:
“Given continued Brexit uncertainties, we recommend that whatever system pharmacies choose, they ensure that termination of the contract without penalties is possible, in the remote possibility there is no workable UK FMD repository.”
Continued access to the EU FMD hub will depend on the future relationship between the UK and the EU. Access is likely to continue during the transition period, and if the UK government realises its aim of a close alignment on medicines policy within the Brexit agreement, it will continue after 2020 too.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Social Care and MHRA have launched a consultation on some aspects of implementing FMD in the UK, which contains a section on sanctions for non-compliance.
Mr Patel continued: “With a lack of certainty as to just how long the FMD system will be needed for, combined with the financial squeeze on community pharmacy, and the lack of any announcement on government funding for this regulation, it is hard to justify the investment. However, we are mandated to comply so we must proceed, albeit with caution.”
One of the key requirements of FMD is the ‘decommissioning’ of a medicinal product before a supply is made to a patient. IT solutions will be available which will include standalone FMD systems or FMD capability integrated into patient medication record (PMR) systems. The working group has published a list of FMD IT system suppliers for any contractors who have not yet started to prepare for FMD, to help them consider their options.
Funding for FMD
The costs of establishing the UK’s National Medicines Verification System are to be borne by manufacturers of branded and generic medicines and parallel distributors. Under the Delegated Regulation, each sector, including pharmacy, is responsible for its own costs for connecting to the UK FMD system. Each of the four national community pharmacy negotiators, including PSNC, is working to ensure that contractors’ FMD-related costs are recognised in future NHS funding settlements. Some of the costs involved include initial set-up, IT, both software and hardware, plus ongoing operational costs.
PSNC have just announced that there is to be an uplift for this years flu service along with some improvements to the service. Please see the full announcement below.
PSNC has worked with NHS England to agree some key improvements to the community pharmacy Flu Vaccination Service for 2018/19, including an uplift to fees.
The changes include:
The service is due to commence on 1st September 2018, subject to amendments to the Secretary of State Directions being made by the Department of Health and Social Care. PSNCwill notify contractors when the amendments have been made and the date they can commence provision of the service.
Click here to read more
PSNC guidance and webinar
Following publication of the service specification and PGD, PSNC has published detailed guidance on the service and has rescheduled the postponed flu webinar.
Click here to read PSNC Briefing 042/18: Guidance on the Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service 2018/19
Click here to register for the rescheduled flu webinar on Tuesday 21st August at 7pm
Please note, if you registered for the webinar which was postponed on 15th August, you should receive an email confirming the new date and time and your registration will still be valid, you shouldn’t need to sign up again.
As in previous years and in line with our constitution Gateshead & South Tyneside LPC is holding its Annual General Meeting virtually through its website.
A letter has been sent out to give notice of this process.
You can access the virtual AGM and annual report by clicking here
The Virtual AGM process will close at 4pm on 21st September 2018.
With all the drug shortages at the moment pharmacists are finding that they have to get in touch more and more with the GP practices to discuss the need for an alternative and some times the alternatives are also unavailable.
Understandably this has led to frustration with GP's and patients alike. Having discussed the issue with our GP colleagues they have expressed that it would be useful to know what the pharmacy has available when they receive requests for alternative treatments.
So as a consequence and In order to minimise disruption to patient care, where possible please let the surgery know availability of suitable alternatives when you contact them.
Don't Forget to Report to PSNC
Don't forget if you have a problem with with prices or shortages please let the PSNC know via their web form . This will give PSNC the data they need when they are negotiating with the department of health.
The forms can be found on the concession price page on the PSNC website.
Please note: - Only use the web form, do not contact the PSNC by telephone as this delays the process. Please use the website.
Pharmacy Poster / Flyer Resource
Pharmacies may also find the flyer below useful to put up in the pharmacy or to hand out to patients. It helps to explain some of the problems to patients.
If you can not see the image below you can download a copy by clicking here.
The LPC would like to remind contractors of their safeguarding responsibilities.
The QP scheme helped to ensure that all GPHC registered staff were trained to Level 2 in Safeguarding however it has come to our attention that some non-registered staff may not have had training in safeguarding. It is equally as important that all members of staff are aware of at least basic safeguarding requirements & are confident to deal with any potential scenarios.
Free training materials for staff are available at NHS Health Education England website. You can access it by clicking here. You will need to register but this free.
NHS England has also produced a handy pocket-sized information leaflet which can be used as a guide by staff.
A copy of it is shown below however if your email does not display it you can download it by clicking here.
The LPC has been working closely with South Tyneside Health Collaboration (The South Tyneside GP Collaboration) and have secured some funding to allow community pharmacists to run small workshops alongside the family GP at lunchtime sessions within local GP Practices.
These workshops aim to deliver basic health education, support, sign posting and local health information to new parents. The role of the pharmacist will be to discuss and promote the access to the Think Pharmacy First Minor ailments scheme, as well introducing them to what pharmacy can offer new parents in the community such as answering questions about rashes, childhood vaccines and common ailment etc. Things we do on a day to day basis.
The GP's are encouraging their patients to visit local Pharmacies first and this is a message we are keen to support.
We envisage the workshops to last approx 1 hour and will be delivered on a lunch time session throughout September and October. There will payment made for each pharmacist attending a session.
If you are interested and want more information please contact our secretary Louise
The LPC have set up a Facebook Group to aid communications between Pharmacies and staff to help share best practices, resources and ideas around Healthy Living Pharmacies.
Sharing ideas will help you to increase your portfolio of evidence which will help with you QP declarations.
The group is open to any one in the pharmacy including Pharmacist's, Staff and and in particular your Health Champions.
You can access it by searching for Healthy Living Pharmacy News - G&ST LPC. within facebook and requesting to join.
The group is a closed group and will be moderated by our secretary Louise Lydon. At the time of joining please send Louise a message via facebook or email to let her know which pharmacy you work in so she can approve your membership.
Once you have joined we would encourage you to upload any photos showing your displays and message about what has worked well within your pharmacy.
This is our News Stream. Any News stories that appear on our website will be archived here for your convenience in Chronological Order with Catogery tags to help you find items you are looking for.
Copies of our older Paper Based News Letters (The LPC News) can be found by clicking below.