VIEWSINTERVIEW ‘ PSNC has served pharmacy well and I hope to continue that’ The Pharmacist’s editor-in-chief Beth Kennedy talks to PSNC’s new chief executive Simon Dukes about how his previous role with fraud prevention service Cifas will help shape his negotiation tactics for pharmacy What experience as the head of Cifas do you think you can bring to PSNC? I think that there are some transferable aspects of the job because Cifas was a member organisation and it represented really large organisations like retail banks but also very small ones as well. It worked across the industry and it worked with the Government. The similarities occur first when you’ve got a negotiation with the Government about the importance of community pharmacy. Second, dealing and working with quite a variety of organisations, from the big multiples to the independents. Third, that financial crime and fraud had a fragmented landscape of representative groups and trade bodies and we’ve got the same thing here in pharmacy. I have a naturally collaborative approach to the way I work, both with the Government and everyone else. In three months, I have travelled 3,000 miles around England talking to pharmacy owners – big multiples as well as the independents – getting a sense of how some of the challenges they are collectively facing can be best represented by PSNC. Fact file • 2003-2011 Senior manager in the civil service • 2011 Became deputy director of the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) • 2013 Became chief executive of Cifas • 2018 Replaced Sue Sharpe as PSNC chief executive Pharmacy leadership can be quite fragmented. How well do you think pharmacy is served by its representation? I think we have some great representative groups. We have a number of them. That doesn’t mean to say that we can’t work together. I’m pleased to say that the outreach I’ve made to other groups and representative bodies has been really positive. I regularly meet them all individually and we’re all getting together as well to discuss some common themes. Do you have an idea of when negotiations for the next pharmacy contract with the DHSC will start? None at all. We’re hopeful for something in the autumn but we’ve got no indications yet. What are your negotiation tactics going to be like? I’ve got a different negotiation style to my predecessor, as she did to hers. As I said, collaboration is clearly at the heart of it. Between 85%-90% of community pharmacy’s income comes from the Government. Therefore, we need to work out how we can deliver on their priorities and help them with their strategic objectives, but equally we need to make sure that we get the best possible outcome for community pharmacy as well. I don’t think those things are mutually exclusive. Do you think PSNC has been strong enough in past negotiations? It is genuinely difficult to answer that question without being in the room at the time. How can I possibly answer it? I think over the years that PSNC has served community pharmacy extremely well and I hope to continue that tradition. What will you be p ushing for in the negotiations? The things that we’ve already been very vocal about in terms of a service-based contract and supporting patients with long-term conditions are really important and fundamental to what we want. September/October 2018 | The Pharmacist | 17 T he Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has gone through a turbulent few years. Since the negotiating body announced at the end of 2015 that the Government would be cutting English community pharmacy’s funding by £321m over two years, it has been battling to secure the sector a fairer deal. Its acrimonious funding battle with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) ultimately culminated in an unsuccessful court battle to overturn the cuts. But the situation has changed drastically since then. After the departure of long- running chief executive Sue Sharpe in May, PSNC has a new leader in Simon Dukes, the former head of fraud prevention service Cifas. Here Mr Dukes talks about his first impressions of community pharmacy, his hopes for the next contract and the challenges facing independents.