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Highest dispensing pharmacies to get monthly £800 'transitional' fund

The highest dispensing pharmacies will automatically receive more than £800 a month from October, as part of the five-year funding contract in England.

From tomorrow (October 1), pharmacy owners in England will be paid a monthly “transitional payment” by the NHS Business Service Authority (NHS BSA) based on how many items they dispense each month, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) announced last week (September 26).

The lowest dispensing pharmacies – which PSNC indicated as those issuing up to 2,500 items a month – will receive £100 a month, whereas pharmacies dispensing more than 19,168 items a month will receive a monthly payment of £833.33 (see PSNC table below for full breakdown).

Contractors do not need to claim for these payments, PSNC said. They will automatically be paid as per the pharmacy's FP34 payment schedule, based on the number of prescription items submitted and reimbursed by the NHS BSA in the relevant month.

The “transitional payments” were agreed as part of the new five-year funding contract announced in July, to support pharmacies’ move to a more “service-based role”.

These monthly payments will also help contractors respond to the costs associated with the implementation of the Falsified Medicines Directive and integration with primary care networks, PSNC said.

In addition to these monthly payments, contractors can also claim a one-off “transitional payment” of £900 if they sign up to offer the new NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) by December 1, and up to £600 if they do so by January 15.

“Figures may be subject to change”

Part of the funding settlement for 2019-20 has been reserved for the CPCS, while £10 million of it has been allocated to fund any serious shortage protocols (SSPs) that are announced by the government between October and March 2020, according to PSNC.

But if “these monies are not fully distributed – for instance, if no SSPs are issued – this funding will be delivered to pharmacies through the transitional payments later in the financial year”, meaning the funds “may be subject to change”, PSNC added.

“Transitional payments” for 2020-21 are still being negotiated, PSNC said.

Phasing out MURs and establishment payments

The new payments “are being funded by repurposing monies from the managed withdrawal of establishment payments and medicine use reviews (MURs)”, PSNC said.

Establishment payments – which the government promised to phase out in 2016 – will cease in April 2020, while MURs are being phased out by April 2021, according to the new funding contract.

This means pharmacies will only receive payments for up to 250 MURs this financial year, down from 400 the previous years.

“This leaves some of the agreed overall funding sum of £2.592 billion undistributed, and it is this money which is being used to fund the transitional payments,” PSNC explained.

Breakdown of monthly payments from October 

Number of items per month
Monthly transitional payment
0 – 2,500
2,501 – 5,000
5,001 – 19,167

Source: PSNC, September 2019

Will your pharmacy benefit from the new transitional payments?

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