National Pharmacy Association responds to overprescribing review

The clinical skills of all pharmacists should be used to tackle the overprescribing of medication, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has said, in response to a major government-commissioned review into the issue.

Led by Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England Dr Keith Ridge, the report found 10 per cent of the volume of prescription items dispensed through primary care in England are either inappropriate for that patients’ circumstances and wishes, or could be better served with alternative treatments. Nick Kaye, Vice Chair at the National Pharmacy Association said:  “This is a highly significant report.  Medicines are the single most widespread healthcare intervention, so it’s vital that their use is optimised, to help patients and to ensure value for money for the NHS. “Community pharmacists could play an increasingly important role in ensuring effective prescribing, for example through Structured Medication Reviews and as independent prescribers. That will improve patients’ access to advice and deploy the expertise of pharmacists to good effect. The clinical skills of all pharmacists, not just those working in GP practices, need to be brought to bear further on this important agenda. “On the flip side of overprescribing is the matter of helping patients get the most from their medicines once dispensed, which is the bread and butter of community pharmacy.  New services like the Discharge Medicines Service and the extended New Medicine Service build on this role significantly.  “In implementing the report’s recommendations, the principle of shared decision-making will be very important, so that the focus is always on getting the best from medicines and never on denying access to medicines, which serves to exacerbate health inequalities.”…

You’ll be our anchor, First Minister of Wales tells NPA members

The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, and Wales’ Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Andrew Evans were among guests to gather at Cardiff Castle on Monday to celebrate the centenary of the National Pharmacy Association.

Mark Drakeford told the assembled NPA members:  “The word ‘community’ in community pharmacy means something. As well as being an essential clinical resource, community pharmacy is an economic driver.  As we rebuild after the pandemic, you will be one of the anchors that help maintain the vitality of local high streets.” He praised the work of pharmacy teams during the pandemic, saying: “You have been on the frontline of the extraordinary experience we’ve all been through. Without you we wouldn’t have got through this together… that’s why there is support for community pharmacy across the political spectrum in Wales.” Making a formal toast, Andrew Evans said: “We have ambitions for a reinvented community pharmacy service – one that is thoroughly modern but built around the values and behaviours that are intrinsic to independent community pharmacy. The NPA and its members will have an invaluable role in that future.” Health & Social Services Minister, Eluned Morgan, told guests, via a recorded video message, that the lessons of the pandemic will “help us further develop the role of pharmacies” and promised ongoing support. She looked forward to “a positive agreement [with Community Pharmacy Wales] later this financial year, which will reflect our shared ambition that every community pharmacy in Wales will provide an extended range of services, available consistently across the country.”…

Take hub and spoke to the competition watchdog, says NPA

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) wants the competition watchdog to look into hub and spoke dispensing, to ensure the system can operate without undermining choice in the medicines supply chain and disadvantaging independent pharmacies.

  The NPA says that there needs to be a dynamic and competitive market in which hubs compete on the basis of quality of service and price for the custom of pharmacies that want to operate this model. Its board has suggested five tests for maintaining fair competition and choice within hub and spoke dispensing:   Hubs must be registered pharmacies and meet all GPhC/PSNI standards. Hubs must be prevented from using their trusted position in the supply process to try to circumvent the relationship between the spoke and the patient, for example by using patient dispensing data for other commercial reasons or inserting branding or advertising material into packs to be supplied to a patient. The current barriers to entry for a hub provider presented by the direct to pharmacy (DTP) and limited wholesaler schemes must be removed so that any registered provider meeting standards can operate and compete in this market. A common set of standards should set out the duties and accountabilities of a dispensing hub and professional metrics which must be collected and published by the hub to assist the spoke in selecting a potential provider. Any mechanism which is designed to prevent a pharmacy from easily switching hub provider should be prevented, thus ensuring that pharmacies can drive competitive pressures in this market.   To achieve the third test, the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 would need to be updated to put an obligation on all manufacturers to supply the reasonable needs of all registered holders of a wholesaler dealer’s licence or a registered pharmacy.…

Superintendent update: End of month update (July 2021) (England)

URGENT ACTION REQUIRED BY NPA MEMBERS - submit your claim for additional COVID-19 costs you have incurred during the pandemic – with less than 2 weeks to go, the CLOCK IS TICKING, TAKE ACTION NOW

  URGENT ACTION REQUIRED – deadline approaching – take action now With less than two weeks to go, you are urgently reminded to submit your claim for the extra costs incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The deadline for claiming reimbursement of additional costs incurred related to COVID-19 pandemic is 23:59 on 15 August 2021. Call us today for advice, support and to discuss – 01727891800 (Mon-Fri 9am to 6pm, Sat 9am to 1pm) You are strongly advised to take action today – use the NPA resources for information and to collate the required information to submit your claim for eligible COVID-19 related costs – click on the links below: Step-by-step guides for NPA Members including reimbursement of additional costs related to COVID-19 and calculating amount repayable for recovery of uplifts to advance payments by NHSBSA A list of examples of the types of costs you may wish to take into consideration when collating information for the claims submission – please note that this is not a definitive list; it is only a list of suggestions A worksheet to support you in collating costs calculations for the additional costs you have incurred in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic Webinar: Claiming your COVID-19 costs – hosted by Mark Lyonette, Chief Executive Officer at NPA and joined by Simon Dukes, CEO of PSNC and Anil Sharma NPA Board Member to explain the deal recently agreed with HM Government/DHSC to allow community pharmacies to claim COVID-19 -related costs.…

Superintendent Update: IMPORTANT REMINDERS – ACTIONS REQUIRED (ENGLAND)

COVID-19 additional costs claims process – NPA support resources available (updated 30/6/2021), and details on the COVID-19 vaccination booster programme, including update on professional indemnity

Dear NPA Member, This is an urgent reminder for NPA Members on two key topics: 1) COVID-19 additional costs claims process and deadline – NPA resources to support you now available NHS pharmacy contractors in England can claim for additional costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic for the provision of NHS pharmaceutical services over a 13-month period from 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2021. All claims must be submitted to the NHSBSA between 5th July and  11.59 pm on Sunday 15th August 2021 by completing and returning the claim form  available from the NHSBSA website. The NPA are here to help members claim all eligible COVID-19 costs following the claims process announced by DHSC. Our Step-by-step guides for NPA Members include reimbursement of additional costs related to COVID-19 and calculating amount repayable for recovery of uplifts to advance payments by NHSBSA, don’t miss out on your reimbursement by working through your claim in good time, ahead of the 15th August 2021 deadline. Our informative webinar recording, where Anil Sharma (NPA Board Member) shares a contractor’s perspective, may also help you plan your claim. Watch our short video here where our Finance manager, Bijal Shah, explains some of the key points to take into consideration regarding tax and VAT aspects of the claims process and recovery of uplifts to the advance payments.…

Northern Ireland protocol: NPA calls for medicines deal

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) today issued a fresh appeal to Brexit negotiators to reach an understanding that will allow manufacturers and suppliers to continue to supply medicines as normal to Northern Ireland.

Under the Northern Ireland protocol, part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, medicines made in UK have to be licensed separately for use in the country including separate safety inspections and other checks before they can be given to the public. It came into force on 1 January 2021, and is now part of international law. The NPA board discussed this issue during its board meetings on 28-29 June. NPA board representative for Northern Ireland, Michael Guerin, said: “This situation, if unresolved, will be intolerable for NPA members and patients in Northern Ireland. We are deeply concerned that the additional cost and complexity of getting medicines into Northern Ireland will result in some manufacturers and suppliers not bringing products to the market. This could result in reduced stock being available, leading to medicine shortages and an increase in the procurement costs. “The medicines supply to Northern Ireland is integrated into the UK market and works on a just in time basis. Close alignment of regulations would help to limit future disruption. We urge the EU and the UK to address this issue urgently and not leave it for patients, carers, pharmacists and GPs to pick up the problem further down the line.…

New health secretary committed to pharmacy, NPA conference told  

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) conference heard today (5 July) that Sajid Javid, the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, is committed to community pharmacy and has already had talks on the subject with Public Health Minister Jo Churchill.

Jo Churchill told the audience of independent pharmacy owners and health service stakeholders: “The new secretary of state and I have already had conversations about pharmacy and its value to the system, so I’m sure that commitment is there.  As a government, we are committed to the idea of community pharmacy as the first port of call for minor illnesses and having a key role at the heart of primary care and prevention.” “I believe you have an essential role as part of the NHS family and bring amazing value to local communities”, she added. During her 30-minute address, the Minister thanked pharmacies for going “above and beyond” during the pandemic. She said that she, Sajid Javid and his predecessor Matt Hancock were all grateful for the work of pharmacies in supplying vital medicines and keeping people safe. She expected the number of pharmacist-led Covid vaccination sites to go up “by hundreds”. The NPA conference continues online until Thursday. …

Pharmacy Minister backs new plan to beat COVID and rebuild NHS  

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) today launched “a bold plan” for England’s community pharmacies to protect the population from COVID-19, improve access to primary care and prevent ill health.

Speaking at this week’s NPA conference, Public Health Minister Jo Churchill MP said she is “encouraged” by the plan and wants to see community pharmacy sitting at the heart of primary care. The plan, called How We Can Help, argues that pharmacies are well placed for a central role in delivering booster COVID-19 vaccinations, allowing GPs to focus on clearing the care backlog in the NHS. It highlights pharmacists’ strong face-to-face relationships with patients and years of experience delivering flu vaccines.  It also covers pharmacy’s broader potential in preventing ill health, managing long term conditions and providing access to care near to where people live, work and shop. NPA chair, Andrew Lane, said: “Today we’re launching the National Pharmacy Association’s bold plan to unleash the potential of community pharmacy in England. Provided there’s sufficient ongoing support from government and NHS, pharmacies can help get the country through the pandemic, help the NHS catch up on lost ground and be a foundation stone for better care in the future.  Pharmacies have been central to the NHS response to Covid throughout, and you can be sure that the end of lockdown won’t be the end of the story of our sector’s epic contribution.…

PSNC announcement on covid costs: NPA response

Responding to PSNC’s announcement today that they have reached a deal with HM Government about Covid costs incurred by community pharmacies, NPA chief executive Mark Lyonette said: “It’s good that the government has finally listened to our repeated appeals for a decision about how Covid costs will be repaid to pharmacies in England.  We look forward to examining the fine print of these arrangements. “It shouldn’t have taken battle buses, petitions, newspaper campaigns and public protests by NPA members to get us to this point.  “We have persistently pressed the government in private and held them to account in public on this matter. “We also acknowledge the many MPs who have backed us in parliament, including the All Party Pharmacy Group. “This is no more than our members deserve – after all pharmacies bore Covid costs in good faith that they would be repaid, in the service of the nation. “It’s now really important that contractors claim all that is due to them within the July 5 – August 15 window.  The NPA will provide support and guidance to our members, most of whom do not have a big back-office to carry out the task of accounting for costs. “We’re pleased that the issue of Covid costs is at last being addressed, but attention must also be given to fixing the pharmacy contract in England, which remains seriously underfunded.”…

New plan for Health MOTs: National Pharmacy Association response

NHS England has announced that there will be ‘Health MOTs’ at NHS vaccination services, pharmacies and clinics this autumn

The NHS will offer a range of targeted tests including blood pressure, heart rhythm and cholesterol checks when people drop in for top-up Covid jabs or flu vaccinations. Further details are awaited. NPA chief executive, Mark Lyonette, said: “We don’t yet have the details, but it makes sense for pharmacies to be part of any new initiatives to monitor heart health and cholesterol, given how accessible they are and their proven track record in preventative care. “It looks like a chance to identify underlying health problems which may have been missed during the coronavirus lockdown, and highlights the important role pharmacies will have in the nation’s post-pandemic reset. “We hope it’s not a one-off scheme limited to a select few pharmacies, but something that can be scaled to turbo-charge access to cardiac support through community pharmacy. “Given the magnificent contribution of pharmacies throughout the coronavirus pandemic, it’s natural that they should be seen as a solution in other areas of prevention and public health too.” The announcement was made by NHS England’s Chief Operating Officer, Amanda Pritchard, at the NHS Confederation conference this week.…