Announcing the five-year funding settlement on Monday – which will see overall funding for the sector frozen at its current reduced level – the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) pointed out that it was still expecting to pay out a total of £75 million for the Quality Payments Scheme (QPS).
However, as the scheme has been put on hold since April – during which an interim funding arrangement has been in place – there is up to £38 million in quality payments “just sitting there unspent”.
While the scheme will return in October under a new name (see below), in the meantime the negotiator will ensure that contractors who met the QPS criteria last year will be able to claim what it describes as “aspiration payments” that “amount to 70% of whatever [you] got last year”, director of pharmacy funding Mike Dent told journalists.
To qualify for the “aspiration payments”, contractors need to still be meeting the gateway criteria from last year, and state which of the new criteria they expect to achieve, PSNC explained.
The negotiator is planning for contractors to submit their claims in October, for payment in November, explained Mr Dent, “but we do need to confirm some of the detail”.
Combined with an increase in reimbursement prices in August, it will help to make the second half of the financial year “feel more comfortable” for contractors, he promised.
PSNC also confirmed on Monday that the QPS – which will be rebranded the Pharmacy Quality Scheme – will continue for the next five years, with the overall amount of funding available remaining the same. Some criteria will remain, while others will be added, it said.