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ICBs to receive funding for pharmacy PCN engagement role

ICBs to receive funding for pharmacy PCN engagement role
By Beth Gault
29 May 2024

Funding has been announced for a new community pharmacy PCN engagement lead role to support the implementation of the access recovery plan.

The role will be the point of contact between community pharmacies and general practices within PCNs. It will be expected to support the implementation of the Pharmacy First service, expanded blood pressure checks service and the pharmacy contraception service (see box).

NHS England has said it will fund the post from 1 April 2024 until 31 March 2025, with £1,040 available per PCN. Integrated care boards (ICBs) will ‘manage the delivery on a local level’, it added.

Guidance from NHS England said the number of roles per ICB area would be based on the needs of the locality, but this could be one per PCN, or one for several PCNs.

It suggested the role might operate by working four hourly sessions ‘every few weeks’ to support the implementation of the access recovery plan, and then ‘ongoing engagement as required’, which it expected to be a minimum of eight hours total per quarter.

ICBs will be required to report to NHS England on the role’s activity and impact.  

NHS England’s guidance said: ‘It is expected that the ICB pharmacy commissioning teams and community pharmacy clinical leads (CPCLs) will coordinate with their local pharmaceutical committees (LPCs) to identify the community PCN engagement lead roles. This could be 1 per PCN or 1 role for a number of PCNs. This will be determined locally, based on the needs of the locality.

‘The ICB will regularly report to NHS England through its regional senior pharmacy integration lead. This will provide assurance that the PCN engagement leads are in place and fulfilling their duties according to the framework.’

It added that the role would help to build local relationships and ‘ensure high quality and appropriate referrals’ from general practice to community pharmacy.

Suggested responsibilities for the community pharmacy PCN engagement lead role

  • Provide support and co-ordination for the community pharmacies in their PCNs to help them collaboratively develop and implement an approach to engagement with the PCNs. It is expected that this role will deliver a minimum of 8 hours per quarter.
  • Work across PCNs and integrated neighbourhood teams to best implement and integrate community pharmacy services as part of the pharmacy PCARP delivery plan for the ICB, including aligning clinical pathways.
  • Agree local arrangements with general practice for delivering the Pharmacy First Service, including localising a standard operating procedure (SOP) and a protocol for referral and escalation into the service.
  • Contribute to PCN clinical meetings and other key PCN meetings to represent community pharmacy, as appropriate. Note, the community pharmacy PCN engagement leads are not required to be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council. If a local pharmacist or pharmacy technician is needed to join a clinical meeting this might be facilitated through this arrangement and by liaison with the LPC and CPCL in their ICB.
  • Work closely with the key members of staff in their PCNs to discuss, understand and be able to describe how community pharmacy can support their PCNs to achieve local targets aligned to national NHS priorities.
  • Develop relationships and work closely with their PCN clinical directors, PCN pharmacy teams, other community pharmacy PCN engagement leads in neighbouring areas, clinical leaders of other primary care providers, regional community pharmacy clinical leads, health and social care providers, local commissioners and the LPCs.

Source: NHS England

A version of this story first appeared on our sister title Pulse PCN.

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