Andrew Lane on the Contractual Framework

Following the announcement of the new Contractual Framework in England, the NPA's Andrew Lane urges independents to embrace change; but warns that pharmacies won’t be fit to deliver new services if starved of resources

We independents must fully embrace the clinical service agenda, which is our best hope for a change in fortunes from our currently precarious situation and the right thing to do for our patients. Yet many pharmacies, worn down by funding cuts and escalating costs, are not in a position to invest in new services that would greatly benefit patients and the NHS. So let’s be clear that the core funding for England’s pharmacies announced in July for the next five years is very unlikely to be enough to achieve the transformational improvements the NHS and pharmacists would like to see.  For some pharmacies, it won’t even be enough to keep the doors open, unless other substantial sources of income can be found. To ensure the service levels required for patients, the £2.59bn core funding needs to be a floor not a ceiling. The funding model will be reviewed regularly over the course of the next five years and the balance between NHS expenditure on dispensing and new services is likely to shift significantly towards the delivery of services, which is something the NPA strongly supports. Fundamentally, the shift to services implied in the new contractual framework for pharmacies in England presents an opportunity for independent pharmacies, who can build on the strength of their relationships, with patients and others locally, to deliver high quality, compassionate care and reap the rewards professionally and commercially.…