While all contractors are required to offer the DMS from today (February 15), some IT system suppliers are still developing a “functionality within their systems to support the provision” of the service, according to a Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) update published today.
NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) and NHS Digital are supporting the IT systems to ensure pharmacies can “transfer necessary data to the NHS Business Service Authority’s Manage Your Service (MYS) portal”, PSNC added.
A PSNC spokesperson told C+D today that it is aware that PharmOutcomes is still sorting its DMS features but added that the service can be completed without IT support.
Contractors can download and manually fill in a DMS worksheet where they cannot use their IT systems, PSNC added.
C+D approached PharmOutcomes for comment and was redirected to NHSE&I.
NHSE&I had not responded by the time of publication.
Number of referrals will vary
In a frequently asked questions page on its website, PSNC said that while the DMS launches today, “not all hospitals are yet ready to make referrals to the service, so some pharmacies will not start to receive referrals on a regular basis until local trusts have engaged with the service”.
The number of referrals pharmacies receive will “vary from pharmacy to pharmacy” and while PSNC said it cannot accurately estimate how many DMS referrals an average pharmacy will receive, its “best estimate is around 12 referrals per year”.
First mentioned as part of the five-year pharmacy contract in England announced in 2019, DMS will see hospitals digitally refer patients to community pharmacies for advice on newly prescribed medicines or changed prescriptions.
Under the service, pharmacies will be paid £35 for each full DMS completed and claimed for each month.