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C+D readers slam PSNC interim funding arrangements

Business Pharmacists were calling for a change of leadership at PSNC last night, after the negotiator announced its interim funding deal would include cuts to practice payments and category M clawbacks of £72.5 million

C+D readers have hit out at PSNC's announcement of interim funding arrangements that will see a drop in practice payments of 15p per item and category M clawbacks of £72.5 million, taking effect in October.  

Pharmacist Harnek Chera described the funding cuts as "relentless". "PSNC continually fails to bring about any freeze, let alone improvement in the situation," he said.

Readers questioned how the funding arrangements were decided and some called for "a change of leadership" following the announcement

More on interim funding arrangements

PSNC announces interim funding arrangements

Pharmacists face financial strain under new       drug tariff

Category M clawback increases four-fold

His concerns were echoed by community pharmacist Clive Hodgson, who said PSNC's decision created "a very bleak future for contractor, employee and pharmacy in general".

Some readers used the C+D website to question how the funding arrangements were decided.

"It's about time the rank and file asked for a full and frank discussion on how PSNC's funding committee negotiates these deals with the Department of Health," said superintendent Ketan Chandi. "We, the contractors, would like to be consulted before they agree to these cuts."

Other readers criticised the management of PSNC itself. "There must be a way of contractors being able to vote for a change of leadership," said community pharmacist David Lewis.

Fellow community pharmacist Gwyn Morris argued that it was "time for a change at the top, since they have failed to negotiate every year since the introduction of the new contract".

PSNC was unavailable for comment.


How will the 2012-13 interim funding arrangements affect your pharmacy?

Comment below or email us at haveyoursay@chemistanddruggist.co.uk You can also find C+D on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook

34 Comments

Harnek Chera, Community pharmacist

Right, done quick calculations and in our group, the average pharmacy will lose around £4000 per month with the Cat M clawbacks and drop in practice payment. That is a full time pharmacist wage! How on earth are we supposed to deliver extra services by employing a second pharmacist when the main pharmacist wage has just been ripped away from us? I back any action which brings an end to this madness. Can't see how we can safeguard jobs in this situation. PSNC. WE NEED CLARITY AND TRANSPARENCY OF YOUR CALCULATIONS!!

Kevin Smith, Locum pharmacist

Can someone tell me why the practice payment has been cut, where does this sit re purchase profit?

Kassim K, Community pharmacist

The PSNC has become an inept organisation and I believe there must be some legal case for failing to adhere to their constitution. From various email correspondence with the PSNC they truly live in a different world and are still patting themselves on the back for delivering the NMS. Please pick up the phone, email the PSNC (info@psnc.org.uk) and let them know what you think. Their replies are structured well but flawed so reply back and demand answers. As Rajive says please contact your LPCs too! I would be more than happy to support any movement to bring the PSNC to account.

Jason Peett, PCT pharmacist

All PSNC committee members are listed and can be contacted direct.

Details are on http://www.psnc.org.uk/pages/psnc_committee.html

Lance Roth, Manager

Jason, only the regional representatives can be contacted directly. None of the PSNC's staff's direct emails are listed. But at least we now have a picture of what Peter Cattee looks like. It is good to put a face to the name of the ones I pray for every night, for both Peter and Sue desperately need our prayers.

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

So, Peter Cattee heads the 2012-2014 funding negotiation committee. See article below, shows how out of touch these guys are with us! I'm sure Mr Cattee wont be facing "Severe" cashflow problems in December.

_____________

Sun 27 April 2008, The Sunday Times
Peter and Angela Cattee

RESULTS FOR 2008 Ranking: 1389= Worth: £54m Source of wealth: Pharmacies PCT Healthcare has about 90 community pharmacies mainly in the Midlands and northwest.

Hardik Desai, Pharmacy Undergraduate

I think all pharmacies in Uk should come togather and strike for a day and close pharmacies for a day to show our dissatisfaction against these cuts.

FIONA CHADWICK, Locum pharmacist

Although this sounds like an extreme response I can tell you that when I worked in the Republic of Ireland this is what we did. It worked, the public got behind us and people really started to realise just how valuable Pharmacists and their Pharmacies were. Those holding the purse strings sat up and took notice. Irish Pharmacies are largely sole proprietor owned and run. They haven't given away their control of medicines to GSL outlets. They are profitable and can afford to pay a good professional wage to thier staff. Now that I'm back in the UK I'm shocked at how poorly Pharmacists are paid here. I'm studying hard to gain MUR and advanced services accreditation but for the rewards, I'm wondering should I go back to the ROI? As a profession we all need to fight this otherwise we would be better off doing a minimum wage job with no responsibility and no stress.

nader Siabi, Community pharmacist

I agreed with Desal. Doctors had the gut to do it and we should too. The first strike should be directed at the PSNC top clowns' for getting us into a mess in the first place!!!

Francis Jones, Community pharmacist

Once again,we are seeing total failure by our 'so called' representatives to negotiate a fair deal for pharmacy.I sold my pharmacy in January 2011 having seen 'the writing on the wall' Every year,I was being forced to do more and more for less remuneration and.as a result,was feeling stressed and disillusioned.Pharmacists are praised for bringing the drugs bill through by negotiating pricing and then are 'kicked in the teeth' with category M.
I know I'm 'out of it' now but retain a very keen interest in the profession.This latest,ludicrous imposition puts more pressure on pharmacy owners particularly when dispensing is a significant part of the business.This in return will mean grim news for many employee pharmacists who will likely suffer zero pay rises for the forseeable future.With inflation running at around 3% a,it means their standard of living will be falling on an annual basis.It's high time there was a big shake up at the PSNC and for Pharmacy to get a negotiating body which will stand up for community pharmacy.

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

I fear our biggest problem is appathy. We get into a huff and puff, then we just fall by the way side. We play into the hands of these incumbent bodies. How on earth has Sue Sharpe been allowed to be at the helm of probably the most influential job in pharmacy. Her actions lay the foundation to our livelihoods.

I have tried for years to band together a group of like minded peers to fight this nonsense, but most of the contractors I have come in touch with are more interested in social/golfing groups!! This sums up the madness. I really do hope, now will be the trigger that gets Bums of Seats!

Sachin Badiani, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

PSNC will be at the Pharmacy Show 2012 at NEC Birmingham. Sue Sharpe will be there.

I spoke to her last year (and I told her about the NMS and it was not working in our area).

Perhaps contractors should come to the show and express disgust with the "negotiating" that PSNC are doing.... I am going.

Lance Roth, Manager

...and bring along their rotten apples and pears. Sue Sharp would indeed be a very brave girl for showing her face!

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

The PSNC is not a statutory body unlike the LPC's. LPC's are supposed to formulate the mandate of the PSNC. However, LPC's are fragmented and hardly every work in a co-ordinated fashion and more interested in local politicking.

Like I have mentioned many times, it is time contractors really pushed their LPC and force them to challenge the PSNC, with a threat of withholding PSNC funding. Pick up the phone and call your LPC Chair and make your voices count.

I fear this negotiation is very negative for us and will ultimately feed down into the pharmacy labour market, which means Locum rates may at best stay same and at worst fall. As for other staff, there may be need for redundancies.

We are all affected.

Sachin Badiani, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

Rajive, done. Written to the LPC Chief. We do have an understanding LPC here and I have asked them what their views are.

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

Good. I hope everyone else does the same.

Gwyn Morris, Community pharmacist

My understanding is that the negotiating team who meet with the DH is made up of Sue Sharpe plus another two salaried PSNC members of staff. Which one is the professional negotiator ? On who's remitt do they act upon ? Who are they answerable to? The answer I guess is themselves....The Untouchables!!

Jawad Merali,

Perhaps challenging PSNC and DoH's cosy relationship go for a judicial review in the same way as contractors in Northern Ireland did.

As contractors and pharmacists, we all do really need to stand up for ourselves. This is a 20% cut in income. How can any business survive, let alone innovate and provide new services with these sorts of cuts?

When you call PSNC, the reasons are "too much buying profit was achieved" hence the claw back - where is the evidence for this?!!?

I have asked PSNC for this, but they tell me it is "confidential negotiations with the PSNC"

Bottom line, if you don't act now, then you might as well sell up or convert into a newsagents.

Lance Roth, Manager

In todays world I find such a lack of transparency quite unnerving - its like the PSNC is stuck in the Middle Ages! Maybe we should send them there!

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

The dust needs to settle and then there needs to be a measured and structured response. I suggest we all co-ordinate and back a new breakaway group to challenge the mandate of the PSNC to represent independent contractors in negotiations with the DoH.

We can start by lobbying our LPC's to immediately stop funding the PSNC. Legally, there is no recourse for the PSNC to get the money, that contractors like you and I pay into LPC's. Remember when NEL LPC stopped paying the PSNC in 2004? PSNC had no legal recourse to chase the money!

The big question is: How aligned is your LPC to your plight. Do they endorse the PSNC or do they feel aggrieved as we do. If they are happy, you should democratically challenge them at the next local LPC elections and gain some control whereby your voice of disapproval can be made directly to the PSNC.

To me, there are two routes:

1. The long winded route: Pursue the long democratic path and use existing structures to leverage your views.

2. To club together and actively explore legal routes to challenge the PSNC's constitution and legal recognition by the NHS Employers to only allow the PSNC to negotiate pharmacy contracts. To me this is the best route, and would give a real wake up call to the existing PSNC board.

I would also like to know if could constitutionally convene an EGM of the PSNC to move a motion of no confidence in the entire PSNC board, with a view to removing them all!

Dhokia -, Superintendent

Two ways to tackle this problem:

1. Ash Soni
2. Paul Bennett

Sue Sharpe out. Sue Sharpe out. Sue Sharpe out.

nader Siabi, Community pharmacist

Not only do we have useless and ineffective PSNC executives, there are LPC committees that are gutless in making the move and getting them out . It is down to your representative at the LPCs to forward a resolution asking for a vote of no confidence. Unfortunately the committees are made up of multiples and independents, and as far as the multiples go, they have their own agenda. For years we feed the executives with loads of money and pension pots and they are now acting like dictators who do not want to given up their reign. This is now the opportunity for a pharmacy spring. If you want to get rid of the PNSC heads, then put pressure on the LPC committee members. Write to them and forward your own resolution asking for the executive team to be sacked.

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

I would urge any contractors who wish to seriously form opposition to contact Nailesh at nailesh.patel2@gmail.com

He is trying to organise a meeting of contractors who want to see an end to this mess and hopefully we can move to a meeting where we can discuss this and other issues, that are currently affecting us workaday pharmacists

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

Dhokia, are you having a laugh, Ash Soni and Paul Bennett were on the PSNC, when this whole stupid contract was negotiated in the first place......there needs to be a wholesale clear out of these quango-loving relics who purport to represent us.

The PSNC along with all the so called "industry experts" have become an establishment uninfluenced by or accountable to workaday pharmacy contractors

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

The only way this PSNC board will take note is if their funding stream is cut. From what I understand this money is fed to them via the LPC, who in turn are remitted funds via contractors directly from the PPD. Therefore, I urge all contractors to contact their LPC and push for them to withhold the payments due to the PSNC. This may be the only way these people will listen.

Lance Roth, Manager

Off course they are not available for comment! If this had been footy, they would have been sacked looooooong ago!

So Mrs Sharp, what have you negotiated for us? Let me tell you - just in case you are unable to grasp a difficult conversation I will spell it out for you in bullet points:
1. Laying off of staff. No more recruitment either. Collegues will actually loose their livelyhood - they and their loved ones will suffer.
2. More will have to be done with less! In a proffession that is rife with stress, u have now doubled our quota - thanks for that!
3. Greater pressure to meet more and more unrealistic targets. I am talking about MURs etc for in case you do not know the profession.
4. More and more drugs being exported in order to make an income, any income! This obviously will add to our stress levels in trying to source the drugs for our patients. Viscous circle that you now have given extra momentum.

You and your team need to do the right thing - leave before you have completely sold the profession down the drain. Fall on your swords like the Japanese of old. At least they had honour! We probably would have received a better deal if you guys had not been there at all!

In case you have not bothered to look, the online Oxford Dictionary defines 'representation' as: 'the action of speaking or acting on behalf of someone or the state of being so represented'

I feel decidedly unrepresented, in fact I feel.....yes, the word would be 'betrayed'! Which in turns makes you a..................

Ian McDonald, Community pharmacist

The misfits @ the PSNC couldn't even negotiate their way out of a paper bag !!!
Monkey see ... monkey do - very well trained and experienced at jumping through hoops

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

Why havent the C&D run a follow up article, with views from the PSNC. Surely, this is the time when readers need information. Furthermore, I would like to see C&D run a poll as follows:

Will the new funding arrangements drive you to financial ruin?
Is Sue Sharpe et al the right people to negotiate your contract funding?
Will you be actively looking to reduce Locums &/or Rates of Pay?
Will you be looking to plan redundancies?
WIll you be withdrawing Services, through lack of investment?

Chris Chapman, OTC Editor and C+D CPD Editor

Hi Rajive,

Thanks for your comments. C+D has contacted PSNC asking for an interview with Sue Sharpe, and will be asking further questions. When we have a response we will be writing a follow-up article. We are also looking at several other aspects of the story, and our intention is to cover it as comprehensively as possible, in print and online.

There is currently a poll asking pharmacists how the interim funding will affect them on the C+D homepage.

Regards,

Chris

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

Thank you. I really think it is important that publications like C&D can allow, through its open forums, contractors and employee pharmacists to discuss, debate and hold to account our industry leaders.

Anger is a very acceptable component of any grievance process. However, all of us on this board should now look to think constructively and progressively, and with the help of follow up reporting from C&D, we can carefully assess our options, once we have heard the "other side".

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