The Department of Health (DH) announced in October that English pharmacies wanting to claim quality payments, which could amount to up to £6,400 per pharmacy, need to first meet four gateway criteria – including delivering “at least one specified advanced service”.
NHS England confirmed in new guidance published last week (December 23) that to meet this criteria, pharmacists must specifically deliver either MURs, NMS or be registered for the government’s urgent supply pilot.
Pharmacists will need to provide evidence of this if they want to be eligible to receive the first round of payments in April.
Delivering other advanced services, such as the prescription intervention service or the national flu vaccination service, will not be considered when assessing eligibility, NHS England confirmed.
NHS Choices criteria
A separate gateway criteria for receiving the payments is: “NHS Choices entry for the pharmacy must be up to date”.
NHS England used its latest guidance to stress that “an inaccurate NHS Choices profile may jeopardise the entire payment claimed for under the Quality Payments Scheme”.
Responding to the new guidance, Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott said it is “essential that community pharmacies embrace the [payments] scheme”.
“Significant amounts of money are on offer for following and demonstrating good practice. In the context of the reduced funding overall, there is an opportunity to recoup at least a portion of what is being lost.”
“I am sure the majority of colleagues will be able to qualify for these significant payments – many with only minor adjustments or by keeping more detailed records," he added.
"Local pharmaceutical committees up and down the country are, I know, already putting in place programmes to support achievement of the criteria.”
More details about the payment scheme can be found here, and further guidance is due to be published in January.