More than 1,000 transactions that “may have been claims” – carried out in the month following the launch of the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) on October 29 last year – were not submitted to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) in time, a C+D freedom of information (FOI) request has revealed.
Contractors in England had until the last day of May to submit their claims for completed CPCS consultations carried out between October 29 and November 30.
As of May 31, 406 contractors had pending transactions on the manage your service (MYS) portal for consultations carried out in the first month of the service, NHS BSA told C+D earlier this month (August 6) in response to an FOI request. There were 1,084 such transactions, the NHS BSA explained.
However, as these potential claims were not “declared by the contractor in MYS, this is unverified data”, NHS BSA said. The organisation does not hold data on how much the 1,084 transactions represent in unclaimed payments, as NHS BSA does not calculate costs “unless a contractor submits a claim”, it told C+D.
“Funding not lost”
Any unclaimed money is, however, “not lost to the sector”, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) director of pharmacy funding Mike Dent told C+D last week (August 11).
“While it is disappointing that a small minority of CPCS claims may have gone unclaimed, it should be noted that where agreed budgets for services such as CPCS are not spent, the unused funding remains within the contract sum and is distributed to contractors via other fees and allowances,” he said.
“PSNC will continue to work with Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England and Improvement (NHSE&I) to develop the service and provide appropriate guidance for contractors,” Mr Dent added.
An NHSE&I spokesperson also told C+D last week (Friday 14) that contractors’ unclaimed money will be distributed across pharmacy services.
C+D revealed last week that more than £3 million was paid to contractors for CPCS claims submitted in the first six months of the service, with the 10,629 pharmacies registered to deliver the service receiving on average just under £48 a month.
Contractors can claim a consultation fee of £14 for each completed urgent medicines supply or minor illness referral they make under the service – but no payment can be claimed if the pharmacist cannot make “any contact with the referred patient”, according to the CPCS service specification.
The NHS BSA can accept claims from contractors “within six months of completion of a referral” but claims made later than this will not be processed, according to the service specification.