Independent Review into Contractor Support and Representation: Update for Contractors

Last year, PSNC and the LPCs jointly funded an independent review into community pharmacy contractor support and representation. The aim of the review was to find ways to optimise LPC and PSNC working to ensure that the national network structure for contractor representation is working as efficiently as it can, is providing best value for contractors and is fit for the future.

The review author – Professor David Wright, who is Professor of Pharmacy Practice from the School of Pharmacy at the University of East Anglia – had planned to publish his final report and recommendations in May. However, due to the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic was having on everyone in community pharmacy at that time, publication of the report was postponed.

Professor Wright has used the lockdown period to listen to LPC and PSNC representatives about the network’s response to the pandemic and he will reflect on this in his report. Now that the immediate COVID-19 peak in the UK seems to have passed, Professor Wright has announced that he will publish his report before the summer – on Friday 19th June.

The report will set out a series of recommendations for how the support and representation offered for contractors can be improved.

Contractors will be encouraged to read the report and to ask questions of Professor Wright in a webinar to be held on the evening of Monday 29th June. Similarly, LPCs and PSNC will have the opportunity to question Professor Wright in a virtual meeting to be held early in July.

At that virtual meeting, PSNC and the LPCs will also discuss a plan for next steps – we expect that this will initially involve setting up working groups to look at some of the review’s recommendations.

Professor David Wright said:

“The response from community pharmacy to the COVID-19 pandemic has been phenomenal and I know that LPCs and PSNC have been doing all that they can to support contractors through this. It felt important not to distract from this work in April and May and as such to postpone the publication of my findings. Now that we are coming out of the initial COVID-19 peak I am looking forward to sharing my recommendations with the sector and to hearing your reactions. I hope to see as many of you as possible at the events scheduled for late June and early July.”

PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said:

“When I proposed this review in October 2019, little did we know the situation we would find ourselves in six months later. But one of the things to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic has been a closer working relationship between LPCs and PSNC. I hope that Professor Wright’s report will build on this and enable an environment where PSNC and the LPCs can work better together to support contractors. That work must not be done by any of us in isolation, and we must ensure contractor input at every stage.”

Contractors asked to feed into independent review

The team carrying out the independent review into representation and support for community pharmacy contractors wants to hear from contractors in England.

A national contractor survey, open until the end of February 2020, is seeking views on the structures, processes and roles of LPCs and PSNC. In particular, participants will be asked about committee make up, LPC roles and representation, finances, governance, accountability and effectiveness of communication.

The survey allows all contractors to have their say and to have direct input into the review. The team hopes to receive as many responses as possible from owners of all types of community pharmacy businesses across England.

Complete the contractor survey – please note, this survey should only be completed by community pharmacy contractors (owners)

This phase of the review follows a series of focus groups, held with LPCs and contractors around the country, which have helped to shape the survey. A second survey seeking views from LPCs is running in tandem with the contractor one.

The review will result in recommendations for how to optimise PSNC and LPC contractor representation and support, ensuring that the national network structure is working as efficiently for contractors as it can and is fit for the future.

For further information on the review, please visit: pharmacy-review.org

Professor David Wright, Chair of the Review, said:

“The independent review team has undertaken four focus groups with 32 LPC members, representing 29 LPCs, four focus groups with 40 contractors, more than ten interviews with LPC Chairs and Chief Officers and visited a number of LPCs to observe how they operate. We are therefore confident that the survey questions are the right ones to enable us to prepare our final report. What we really need now is for contractors to fully engage with the process to ensure that their voices are heard.”

Simon Dukes, PSNC CEO, said:

“This review is exploring how we (LPCs and PSNC) might better be able to support contractors over the life of the five-year contractual framework and beyond. To help the review team to formulate their recommendations, they need to hear from contractors directly – how could we do things differently to better support and represent you?”

Complete the contractor survey – please note, this survey should only be completed by community pharmacy contractors (owners)