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NHS Prescription Services

Document Important: Overview of pharmacy payment changes

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Why have the changes been introduced?

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has introduced a new 2 year funding package for Community Pharmacies that will see savings of £113m in 2016/17 and further savings of £95m in 2017/18. The changes to payments are designed to deliver these savings without affecting the level of service that patients expect to receive from their pharmacy.
Single Activity Fee (SAF)
With effect from 1 December 2016, pharmacies will receive a single fee per item which combines and replaces the separate fees paid for:
  • Professional fees (also known as dispensing fee)
  • Practice Payments
  • Repeat Dispensing Fees
  • Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) monthly allowance.
The SAF has been set at the following levels:
  • From December 2016 - £1.13 per item
Establishment Payments
These payments will be reduced gradually with the aim to cease them completely by the end of March 2020. Payments will be reduced by 20% with effect from December 2016. The following tables outline how the payments have been set out until the end of March 2017. Further reductions beyond this date are still subject to future consultation.
December 2016 – March 2017

Items per month Payment per month
2,500 – 2,829 £1,552
2,830 – 3,149 £1,613
3,150 + £1,673
  Pharmacy Access Scheme (PhAS)
DHSC has stated that this scheme will ‘ensure a baseline level of patient access to NHS community pharmacy services is protected’. It is intended that areas where there are fewer pharmacies will have a guaranteed level of, and access to, pharmaceutical services.
Eligibility for the scheme is calculated by the following criteria:
  • the pharmacy is more than a mile away from the next nearest pharmacy by road
  • the pharmacy is on the pharmaceutical list as of 1st Sept 2016
  • the pharmacy is not in the top 25% largest pharmacies by dispensing volume
DHSC has assessed 1,356 pharmacies as being eligible for the scheme. The list of eligible pharmacies can be found on the NHSBSA website. No new pharmacies will be added to this list during the period of funding.
Payments will begin from December 2016 and continue until the end of March 2018. The current projected payments are outlined below:
  • December 2016 - March 2017: approximately £2,900 per month
  • April 2017 - March 2018: approximately £1,500 per month
Details of the review process for pharmacies who think they should be included in the scheme can be found on the NHSBSA website.
Quality Payment Scheme
DHSC is introducing this scheme from April 2017. £75m of the total fund available through the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) has been allocated to these payments.
Pharmacies will need to meet the following four criteria to be eligible to receive payments:
  • Provision of at least one specified Advance Service
  • Have their NHS choices entry up to date
  • Have the ability for staff to send and receive NHS mail
  • Ongoing utilisation of EPS
If these criteria are met, pharmacies can earn points which qualify them for additional payments. A maximum of 100 points can be earned over two review points at April and November 2017. The Quality Payment criteria are outlined on the relevant PSNC web page.
It is likely that not all pharmacies will achieve the 100 points available at the review points. After the 2nd review point, the remainder of the available funding will be divided between qualifying pharmacies who did not reach the maximum points. The amount each receives will be based on the number of points they achieved.
The value of each point is expected to be £64, however this may be revised to ensure the full funding is allocated proportionately. A cap of £128 per point has been set by DH.
Urgent Medicines Supply pilot scheme
This will be a new service piloted by NHS England to ensure that patients who call the NHS 111 service for urgent repeat prescriptions are referred directly to community pharmacies. This will be funded by the Pharmacy Integration Fund.
The Service Specification will be released on 1 December 2016 and registration for the service will be via the NHSBSA website.
Submission document changes

There will be upcoming changes to the submission document as there will no longer be a requirement to fill in the number of staff working hours (due to the abolishment of the practice payment). The sub doc (FP34) isn't changing as of yet, but it may in future after agreement/instruction from DHSC.

See also...

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