NHS Pharmacy contracts – changes on the way

20th March 2013

For those who are thinking of buying or selling a pharmacy business be aware that upon the abolition of Primary Care Trusts (PCT’s) on 1st April 2013 NHS pharmacy contracts and all pharmaceutical lists which were previously maintained by your local PCT will then be maintained by the newly introduced NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB).  Any applications for new, additional or relocated pharmacy premises must therefore be made to the NHSCB.

All such applications will be handled by the NHSCB’s relevant Local Area Teams, of which there will be 27 across the country.  Further information on the NHSCB and its Local Area Teams can be found at the NHSCB website at

Routine applications for new pharmacies will continue to be assessed against the Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA) for the relevant area.  These PNA’s will have been prepared by either the Primary Care Trust (prior to it being closed down under the new NHS reforms) or the new Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWB) which will take over responsibility for PNAs from 1st April.  Any PNAs previously prepared by PCTs will remain valid until the relevant HWB publishes its own PNA.  Each HWB has until 1 April 2015 to do this.

According to Hilary D'Cruz, head of Ansons Solicitors pharmacy law team, “more detail will no doubt be released as the new structure is rolled out from April but all Local Area Teams will be taking on direct commissioning responsibilities for pharmacy services.  As far as pharmacy contract applications are concerned we envisage a relatively smooth transition between the PCT’s and the relevant NHSCB Local Area Teams.”

New regulations governing control of entry will also come into effect from 1st April 2013. These are called the NHS (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013 but apart from introducing provisions to reflect the structural reforms of the NHS, the market entry provisions for inclusion in pharmaceutical lists are virtually identical to those in the earlier 2012 Regulations which came into force last September but will now be replaced by these new regulations.

Role of NHSCB in Commissioning Pharmacy Services

The central element of the NHSCB will provide the framework for a consistent approach in primary care commissioning.

It will be the Local Area Teams which will be integral in ensuring that decisions over pharmacy services are made as locally as possible.  They will work in partnership with other bodies, such as the new Clinical Commissioning Groups, to ensure there is a locally responsive approach.  All Local Area Teams will be taking on direct commissioning responsibilities for pharmacy services.

Please contact Hilary on Tel: 01543 431188 / Email: and follow Ansons on Twitter @PharmacyLegal