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What the updated GP contract will mean for pharmacists in primary care

Published: 17 February, 2020

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) and the BMA agreed the 2020/21 GP contract deal on 6 February 2020. This agreement updates and enhances the existing five-year GP contract deal: Investment and Evolution: Update to the GP contract agreement 2020/21 – 2023/24

This landmark deal will revolutionise patient care in relation to the use of medicines, and particularly the issue of overprescribing, through the delivery of the Structured Medication Review and Medicines Optimisation Service Specification from April 2020.

A significant part of how integrated ‘out-of-hospital’ care, as outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan, will be delivered is through the increasing clinical contribution of all pharmacy professionals in general practice, community, and hospital settings, including a role for pharmacy technicians as part of the Primary Care Networks through the Network Contract DES.

The main measures in relation to pharmacy

  1. Major enhancements to the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme to help secure 26,000 additional staff:
  • 6,000 extra staff will be funded under the Scheme (in addition to the 20,000 already being funded).
  • More roles will be added to the Scheme from April 2020 in addition to those previously agreed: pharmacy technicians, care co-ordinators, health coaches, dietitians, podiatrists and occupational therapists. Mental health professionals will be added from April 2021. Some further flexibility is included in the operation of the Scheme’s rules.
  • Reimbursement for the 26,000 roles increases from 70% to 100%.
  • PCNs are encouraged to take immediate action to recruit, with additional support from their CCG. A simple workforce planning template will be developed shortly, for PCNs to share their intentions.
  1. Further improvements to the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) including significant reforms to the asthma, COPD and heart failure QOF domains and a new indicator on non-diabetic hyperglycaemia. In 2020/21, the QOF quality improvement modules are learning disabilities and supporting early cancer diagnosis.
  2. An overhaul of vaccination and immunisation payments to improve vaccination coverage.
  3. The Structured Medication Review and Medicines Optimisation, Enhanced Health in Care Homes and Supporting Early Cancer Diagnosis service specifications have now been significantly improved in the light of consultation responses. They will be introduced in 2020/21.
  4. Incentives under the new Investment and Impact Fund will be introduced in 2020/21. The Fund rewards PCNs for delivering objectives set out in the NHS Long Term Plan and GP contract agreement. Eight indicators are included in 2020/21, relating to seasonal flu vaccination, health checks for people with a learning disability, social prescribing referrals, and prescribing. The Fund will be worth £40.5m in 2020/21, increasing to £150m in 2021/22, £225m in 2022/23 and £300m in 2023/24.
  5. The deal also includes improvements to the Network Contract DES registration process and updates to the Network Agreement.
  6. NHSE&I is working with the General Practitioners’ Committee of the BMA to develop more detailed guidance, where appropriate, on the agreed changes set out in the publication.

Extract from “Pharmacy and Medicines Bulletin – Special Edition” NHS England, 10 February 2020.

Last updated: 17 February, 2020

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