PSNZ comments on proposed Integrated Pharmacist Services in the Community Agreement (IPSCA)

The District Health Boards of New Zealand are conducting a consultation on a proposal to offer a new evergreen contract for community pharmacy services as part of the implementation of the Pharmacy Action Plan. The Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand fully supports the implementation of the Pharmacy Action Plan but has reservations about the proposed Integrated Pharmacist Services in the Community Agreement (IPSCA).

“ IPSCA has the potential to create innovative roles for pharmacists in the future working both inside and outside traditional pharmacy service models to improve the health of New Zealanders. The proposal may also align pharmacists more closely with other healthcare providers, both in primary and in secondary care” says Pharmaceutical Society President Graeme Smith.

However the Society believes there are flaws in the proposed Agreement. “There is no certainty for community pharmacists beyond the first few months of the new contract” says Mr Smith. “Much of the proposal is aspirational and at a high level of structure. It lacks the key detail of service provision and funding that would provide the pharmacy sector with confidence. The New Zealand health system needs a sustainable community pharmacy network as well as new models of care. We are not sure the Agreement, as presented, will deliver this. There are some other aspects including the split between dispensing and advice that cause us concern.”

The Society suggests there is a way forward. “We accept the need for change and understand that DHBs have pressure on their budgets” say Mr Smith. “We would like to see a reset in negotiations to allow new models to be developed, impact analyses to be done and an implementation plan agreed. The best way to do this is to roll over the existing contract to enable agreement to be reached and good plans made as soon as possible. As the professional body responsible for workforce development, PSNZ are keen to assist in the process of co-designing new services” says Mr Smith. “With a total review of Primary Care about to take place it appears prudent to take the time now to get it right.”

Mr Smith believes the majority of the pharmacy sector are keen to see progress. “Pharmacists want to make a greater contribution to the health system utilising our skills and knowledge as the medicines experts to improve the lives of our patients”.

The Society is urging all pharmacists to gather information and respond to the IPSCA consultation survey before the 10 April deadline.