Independent Review Update: AIM, CCA and independents nominate members to Review Steering Group (RSG)

18th November 2020

The Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIM), the Company Chemists Association (CCA) and the NPA and PSNC Regional Representatives have appointed their representatives to the new community pharmacy Review Steering Group (RSG).

The RSG was proposed by PSNC as a group to oversee progress on work to strengthen community pharmacy contractor support and representation, as provided by LPCs and PSNC.

Following an independent review into this topic, PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes consulted with LPCs on draft Terms of Reference for a group who could further explore the findings of that independent review. AIM, CCA and the NPA and PSNC Regional Representatives were then asked to select representatives to form the group.

PSNC asked that members of the RSG were chosen fairly and transparently, and stressed that the group must keep contractors at the heart of this work and reflect and represent the diversity of views and businesses within our sector. LPCs were keen that the group heard from new voices.

The members of the RSG who have been appointed by the three groups of pharmacy representatives are:

  • Peter Cattee (AIM)
  • Sandeep Dhami (AIM)
  • Sam Fisher (CCA)
  • Tricia Kennerley (CCA)
  • Adrian Price (CCA)
  • Stephen Thomas (CCA)
  • David Broome (independent)
  • Mark Burdon (independent)
  • Mike Hewitson (independent)
  • Aneet Kapoor (independent)

The RSG will be convened by PSNC Chair Sue Killen who will act as an independent facilitator and will not have a vote on the group.

The RSG is expected to convene later this year: it will have some urgent early priorities to address such as its contractor engagement plan, governance arrangements, and priorities for commissioning work and task groups. Contractors can expect an update early in 2021.

AIM commented:

“As an organisation AIM looks forward to playing its part in fully engaging with the Independent Multiple sector to seek their views on the Wright Review’s proposals. Our two representatives on the Steering Group are a conduit for those views and will welcome any and all contact and opinions from contractors.”

The CCA commented:

“The CCA and its members have always been fully supportive of this review process and are now very pleased to have the opportunity to continue providing their support, through the Review Steering Group.”

The NPA and PSNC Regional Representatives commented:

“Given the importance of this review to the sector, and the role of the RSG, we have voted to appoint people who we believe have the skills, experience and political expertise to be really effective advocates for independents. We are pleased to include an independent LPC Chair. Thank you to everyone else who contacted us about being involved: we look forward to hearing views and ideas from you and from across the independent sector as the RSG takes forward its work.”

Further Information on the Review Steering Group

The Review Steering Group’s role will be to oversee work exploring the findings of the independent review in more detail and to come up with a workable proposal for the sector. The RSG will need to commission work to help it to do this – this will be through working and engagement groups made up of wider groups of people from across the sector, and possibly using external experts and consultants.

The RSG is being funded initially by PSNC.

Critically, the Group will not be a decision-making body – it will be for all contractors to decide whether or not they want to accept whatever the RSG proposes to them.

PSNC’s proposal for the RSG also stressed the critical need for the group to fully engage contractors in the next steps of this work – the group will need a comprehensive communications plan, and PSNC expects it to update contractors via webinars on a regular basis.

You can read more about the RSG here.

Independent Review Update: New Review Steering Group to take forward work on contractor support and representation

11th November 2020

PSNC and LPCs have been working closely together since the publication of the findings of Professor David Wright’s independent review into contractor representation and support over the summer.

The review was commissioned to find ways for PSNC and the LPCs to work better together, with the ultimate goal of improving the service that we collectively give to contractors and strengthening the sector’s representation and negotiating position.

The outcome of the review was published over the summer and it resulted in 33 recommendations for the future of PSNC and the LPCs. You can read about the report and its findings here.

Since then, PSNC and LPCs have been discussing a way forward. It is clear that the recommendations need to be explored in more detail, particularly looking at the benefits they would bring, the feasibility of implementing them, and any associated costs.

The Review Steering Group

To take forward that exploratory work, PSNC last month proposed to LPCs the formation of a group, called the Review Steering Group (RSG).

Key points about the RSG include:

  • It will be made up of contractors to ensure fair representation of all groups of contractors;
  • Its role will be to explore Professor Wright’s recommendations in more detail and to come up with a workable proposal for the sector;
  • The Group will need to commission work to help it to do this – this will be through working and engagement groups made up of wider groups of people from across the sector, and possibly using external experts and consultants;
  • This work will be funded initially by PSNC, through savings made as a result of COVID-19 related travel restrictions; and
  • The Group will not be a decision-making body – it will be for all contractors to decide whether or not they want to accept whatever the RSG proposes to them.

The proposal for the RSG stresses the critical need for the group to fully engage contractors in the next steps of this work – the group will need a comprehensive communications plan, and we expect it to update contractors via webinars on a regular basis.

You can read more about the RSG here.

Next Steps

This week the majority of LPCs who have been in touch with PSNC have supported the proposal. This is good news, but it is also not surprising given the consensus that we have all previously reached.  Members of the RSG will now to be selected by AIM, CCA and the PSNC Regional and NPA Representatives.

Some LPCs raised valid questions about the RSG – both about how the RSG will carry out its work, and also about how members will be selected to it. In particular they were concerned about how independent contractors can apply to be on the RSG; about the timing of the process; about the need for transparency; and about how we can involve new faces in the process.

PSNC agrees that AIM, CCA and the Regional and NPA Representatives must seek to appoint RSG Members who will keep contractors at the heart of this work and who can reflect and represent the diversity of views and businesses within our sector. Their selection processes should be as fair and transparent as they can make them. As we hand the process over to them, we will once again stress these points.

Any independent contractor interested in being on the RSG should contact their PSNC Regional Representative this week.

PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said:

“Community pharmacy contractors are doing everything they can to help their patients and local communities through the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. It has never been more critical that LPCs and PSNC represent and support them in the best way possible.

We have been working since last year to find ways to improve the ways in which we work to get better outcomes for contractors. The formation of a steering group will be the next stage in that work and we hope it will kickstart a process that can really engage with all contractors and the wider sector, and lead to meaningful changes the benefit all pharmacy businesses.

The steering group will have much work to do to develop proposals and then to communicate those effectively to contractors for their decision. It will need to commission work through working groups and, possibly, external experts, and they will need to find ways to bring in the ideas of anyone in the sector who has them – perhaps through a Contractor Forum and other bodies

The RSG will have whatever support they need from PSNC in those efforts, including the provision of a Secretariat function. I look forward to seeing their proposals in due course.”