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DH ‘considering next steps’ for pharmacy early payments scheme

PSNC: Vital the economic impact on thousands of community pharmacies is taken into account
PSNC: Vital the economic impact on thousands of community pharmacies is taken into account

The future of the Pharmacy Earlier Payment Scheme (PEPS) is under consideration, following the collapse of the scheme’s funding provider, Greensill Capital.

PEPS, which was announced by former Prime Minister David Cameron, allows pharmacies to access their monthly advance payments up to 60 days earlier.

It was first introduced in 2013 and is a privately financed, voluntary arrangement with fintech firm Taulia. The company’s platform – which allows suppliers to request early payment – is funded by external partners Greensill Capital, which collapsed earlier this year.

Taulia and the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA)’s contract will end on Wednesday, June 30, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) confirmed today (June 3).

While existing members of the scheme will continue to be paid, no new pharmacies will be added to PEPS, and “the future of PEPS is now under consideration”, PSNC added.

In an update on its website, NHS BSA said: “We are continuing discussions with [the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) to determine our next steps and the future of funding for the scheme.”

NHS BSA initially had to step in to cover the payments of the scheme in March, after Greensill Capital was on the brink of financial collapse.

NHS BSA has said during the “interim period of the scheme”, no fees or charges would be applied, and therefore payments would represent the gross amount. The latest monthly payments were made on June 1.

PSNC's concerns

PSNC said it is “concerned” about the situation and is in talks with the DH about the future of PEPS.

“The present version of the PEP Scheme was launched in early 2020, and if it is now to be withdrawn it is vital that the economic impact on thousands of community pharmacies financed by PEPS is taken fully into account,” PSNC stressed.

Is your pharmacy signed up to PEPS?

Mr CAUSTIC, Community pharmacist

How about PSMC negotiating weekly payments in arrears . There is no excuse not to . We can send off our scripts daily , the nhs computer can work out the payment due and pay it . Monthly they could deduct  the discount scale deduction . In reality they could also work out an acurate discount based on the manufacturers actual discount so we would not face a loss dispensing some drugs .

This would help our cash flow , if they really wanted to ! Sorry i forgot  the target the Government has to reduce the number of Pharmacies.



Richard MacLeavy, Dispenser Manager/ Dispensing Assistant

Surely the scheme is unnessasary if the NHS were just more promt with reimbursement? The 3 month payment time lag was understandable when all prescriptions were handwritten or typed and therefore needed to be manually processed by the Business Services Authority. Now they are electronic and the payments are calculated automatically when we scan the prescriptions as collected there is no reason for the 3 month time lag to still be in place. 

M. Rx(n), Student

I believe it's simply for cashflow continuity purposes. And in the case of such a vital care infrastructure, I reckon it's beyond warranted - better safe than sorry.

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