New requirements for contractors in 2015-16 funding package
The settlement will require contractors to publish their earnings from the NHS and give extra advice to patients claiming free prescriptions without evidence
Contractors will need to publish their earnings, inform patients of prescription fraud checks and take part in another national audit as part of the 2015-16 funding settlement.
PSNC had agreed “in principle” that pharmacy businesses would need to disclose their earnings from the NHS, it announced as part of the funding settlement yesterday (July 20).
The 2015-16 package will also require pharmacists to inform patients who claim free prescriptions without evidence that the NHS undertakes fraud checks. Similarly to last year, pharmacies will need to take part in a national audit.
The negotiator felt it “could not object” to the publication of contractors’ earnings, because this type of data disclosure was “already happening elsewhere in the NHS and the wider public sector”, it said.
Once the agreement came into effect, any failure to publish earnings could result in a contract breach notice by NHS England, PSNC warned.
PSNC stressed that the requirements would be “in line” with those of other healthcare professionals, and that it would set up a working group with NHS Employers and NHS England to establish the details. It did not give a timeframe for publishing the details, but said it would aim to finish the work “as soon as possible”.
The negotiator also did not have a final date for the requirement to inform patients of fraud checks, but pledged to keep contractors updated.
The requirement “should not change the relationship between pharmacists and patients”, given that pharmacists were already required to ask for evidence, PSNC said. It specified that contractors could make patients aware of the fraud checks verbally or in written form, and said it would publish template leaflets “in due course”.
The subject of the national audit is yet to be confirmed, but PSNC said it would look to ensure the workload was “manageable as possible” for pharmacists. It also pledged to stress the importance of giving contractors enough preparation time to NHS England.
The requirement for a national audit was first introduced in last year’s funding package. The results of the audit into emergency supplies are not yet known, but PSNC said it believed they would demonstrate the impact of pharmacy in “keeping patients from attending urgent and emergency care services”.