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Who is it? The organisation currently known as the Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts will be renamed Monitor.

What does it do? Monitor will be an economic regulator with powers to regulate competition. Its main duty is “to protect and promote the interests of people who use health services”.

How does it influence community pharmacy? Monitor will have three main roles that will affect community pharmacy: promoting competition, setting and regulating prices, and supporting continuity of services. Pharmacies should assume they will be subject to regulation by Monitor, including on anti-competitive practice. But pharmacies will also be able to complain to Monitor if they believe commissioners have made decisions that restrict competition.

What you need to know: The health bill requires Monitor to take into account 12 factors when carrying out its role, including how the NHS Commissioning Board is performing its duties, and the need for commissioners to make the best use of resources.

NHS Commissioning Board
Who is it? The NHS Commissioning Board will have overall responsibility for NHS services in England. Fully operational in April 2012, the board will be independent, although the secretary of state for health will set its mandate each year and appoint its chair.

What does it do? Effectively, it runs the NHS. The board’s remit covers: commissioning pharmacy, general practice, dentist and specialist services; allocation of NHS resources; remuneration of pharmaceutical services; and listening to patient feedback. The board will oversee GP consortia, appointing their officers, providing commissioning guidance and holding them to account when it comes to outcomes and financial performance.

How does it influence community pharmacy? It will directly commission national pharmacy services, and will be in charge of the community pharmacy contractual framework and working with LPCs.

What you need to know: The board has a duty to obtain advice “from persons with professional” expertise to effectively discharge its functions, so will need to consult with community pharmacy over relevant matters.

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