New contract for pharmacy services centred on people
'TAS will continue to provide support to DHBs so we can improve our support for the most vulnerable populations', says Carolyn Gullery, Lead GM Planning and Funding for Pharmacy.
New contract marks a turning point
A new contract for community pharmacy services marks a turning point in providing integrated pharmacy services to our communities.
It took effect on 1 October 2018.
The new contract will support delivery of a key government health strategy – the Pharmacy Action Plan. It puts people at the centre of services, and envisions a healthcare system where pharmacists are skilled medicine advisors, working with other health professionals to achieve the best health outcomes for people.
To get the contract over the line, TAS supported DHBs in extensive consultation and engagement with pharmacy owners, pharmacy sector groups, health sector representatives, and consumer groups.
Carolyn says: ‘TAS was there every step of the way. TAS worked with legal advisors, provided meeting secretariat support and liaised with sector representatives. TAS managed the consultation process, which was an enormous undertaking – it took many hours of time to analyse the information that came out of the consultation.’
The road to success
The genesis of the new contract was in 2015, when DHBs wanted to take a different approach to pharmacy, in line with the New Zealand Health Strategy and Pharmacy Action Plan.
The consultation process began in 2017. DHBs held roadshows across the country from March-April 2018, along with two national hui. People shared their views via an online survey, and TAS grouped feedback from 1100 valid consultation survey responses.
Rachel Mackay, Community Pharmacy Services Programme Director at TAS, says a turning point in the process was the decision to use Buddle Findlay as the legal advisors for the contract.
‘Buddle Findlay have worked on other significant DHB service contracts, meaning our stakeholders had confidence that the pharmacy contract could work in practice. Having the same legal advisors working across contracts also supports developing integrated services in the future.’
The new contract, called the Integrated Community Pharmacy Services Agreement (ICPSA), is a step towards pharmacists working in more integrated ways with other healthcare providers, like GPs.
‘As well as working in community pharmacies, pharmacists could be working alongside other health professionals to deliver more integrated services for consumers, in doctor’s surgeries, on marae, or even in people’s homes. We want to make the dispensing function more efficient, and allow pharmacists to be able to spend more time talking with patients, and using their expertise in medicines management,’ Rachel says.
The contract is also “evergreen” – it will roll over year on year, with an annual review process incorporated.
While parts of the contract are nationally consistent, it also allows for more localised services, and for pharmacists to work with other health professionals to better respond to local community needs. Carolyn says ‘TAS will continue to provide DHB portfolio managers with support, to optimise what we can achieve with the new contract. TAS helps us to be consistent across all DHBs, so we can continue to help the most vulnerable populations.’