The National Pharmacy Association’s Board and committees convened on 25-26 November

28 Nov 2019

Acting Chair of the Board, Andrew Lane, reports:

This was the last meeting of the NPA Board before Christmas, but with several weighty matters on the agenda, none of us is yet in the holiday spirit.

The complexity involved in implementing even the most basic elements of the new contractual framework in England was brought to the table as a major concern, which we will feed formally into PSNC as well as continuing to produce practical resources to help NPA members. In the last three months we have produced nearly 30 resources relating to the Pharmacy Quality Scheme and the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service alone. This is an indicator both of the hard work the NPA is putting in to support members, and of the sheer scale of the task pharmacy teams face. To keep on top of it all, you might find our CPCF calendars and checklists particularly helpful.

Looking somewhat further ahead, the Policy & Practice Committee once again considered the potential merits and limitations of hub and spoke dispensing. One of our principal concerns is that any developments in this area should be on a level playing field for independent pharmacies. Furthermore, hub and spoke mustn’t be allowed to entrench unhealthy market dominance by the major wholesalers. Watch out for more on this from the NPA soon.

Erik Nordkamp, Pfizer Upjohn Cluster Lead Europe, and former president of the ABPI, joined the meeting to give a pharmaceutical industry perspective on community pharmacy.  His principal message was that partnership is a necessary component of success for all sectors.  Pharmacy needs to take a partnership approach to patient care and to advocacy, including the creation of data to demonstrate value. We also need to work in partnership with the NHS to develop productivity solutions, particularly in relation to chronic conditions.  Erik – who has experience of working within health systems across Europe – also pointed to an interesting piece of research he was involved in, which found that people are prepared to pay for ‘wellness’ but generally regard treating ‘sickness’ as something the state should pay for.  I’m grateful to him for sharing his insights with us and I hope it will lead to fruitful further discussions.

Our Workforce Development Committee reviewed the NPA’s new e-learning platform which will now enable members to purchase e-learning courses for their pharmacy teams, with the medicines counter assistant course being launched very soon. New courses to be offered to members in 2020 were discussed as were market changes for pre-registration students when integrated programmes take place in England.

The Board received a report on developments in Scotland, including the vision of Community Pharmacy Scotland to have a pharmacist independent prescriber offering assessment and treatment for common clinical conditions in every community pharmacy. This boldness is very much in line with the NPA’s view of pharmacies as the ‘front door to health’ across the UK.

Other topics on the agenda this month included branded generics, business rates and the NPA’s joint work with other pharmacy bodies on the General Election.  This includes a shared policy manifesto and an online hub with resources to help pharmacy teams engage parliamentary candidates (

Finally, we received a report into the NPA’s current activities with patient groups, with a view to increasing the breadth and depth of our relationships. Patient groups help us stay in touch with patient sentiment and give feedback on changes to pharmacy practice. They can also be persuasive advocates for community pharmacy.

If you wish to comment on anything in this brief report of board proceedings, please get in touch with your NPA regional board member, or email