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Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee

PSNC & Parliament

ParliamentPSNC has always attached great importance to its activity in the political and parliamentary arena. The issues for which it takes lead responsibility on behalf of contractors – remuneration, reimbursement and the development of NHS pharmaceutical services – are all ultimately determined by politicians and policy makers.

PSNC therefore places great emphasis on maintaining strong links with a broad range of individuals who wield influence over policy making, both at national and local level. Similarly, PSNC firmly believes in the importance of equipping LPCs to undertake as much local political activity as possible.

PSNC has a resource pack available for LPCs which provides guidance on how to arrange meetings locally with MPs and others, and how to get the most out of such meetings. LPCs requiring further advice are encouraged to contact the PSNC office.

Each year PSNC holds a Dinner at a prestigious London venue. Around 500 people attend the Dinner; with the Minister of State of Health with responsibility for pharmacy as the Guest of Honour. A large number of parliamentarians attend the Dinner, as do representatives of the other health professions, NHS bodies, voluntary groups and health charities, and the media. It has proved over the years to be an excellent opportunity for local community pharmacists to forge and strengthen links with their local decision makers, and it reinforces their year-round work locally.

PSNC is one of the key supporters of the All-Party Pharmacy Group and takes every opportunity to brief members of the Group on current issues.

What is an All-Party Group?

Howard StoateAll-Party Groups are established in Parliament by MPs and peers as a focus for their interest in a particular issue. All-Party Groups are not controlled by the party whips, and they normally comprise a wide range of parliamentarians from both Houses and various parties. Each Group must comprise a minimum number of parliamentarians from the government party and the official opposition. Each Group must elect its officers on an annual basis.

These and other requirements are laid down by the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, which recognises and regulates All-Party Groups.

Generally these Groups are formed to examine issues that are non-contentious in party political terms.

Many All-Party Groups receive administrative and executive support from outside organisations with an interest in the issues that the Groups were formed to examine. Each Group must lodge with the Commissioner for Standards a short 'statement of purpose' which sets out its remit.

The All-Party Pharmacy Group's statement of purpose is  'To raise awareness of the profession of pharmacy, and to promote pharmacists' current and potential contribution to the health of the nation'. The APPG's website details the Officers of the Group and provides access to meeting reports and other Group publications. 

The All-Party Group is supported by the national organisations representing pharmacists and pharmacies, which also fund the executive and administrative assistance the Group receives. They are the Company Chemists Association, the National Pharmacy Association, PSNC and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.