Allocation of ODS codes: change of pharmacy circumstance guide and checklist

Allocation of ODS codes: change of pharmacy circumstance guide and checklist

Your pharmacy ODS (F) code is the pharmacy’s unique identifying code. If your pharmacy ODS code may change (e.g. location or ownership) then there are actions needed to ensure a smoother transition.

Pharmacy relocation, closures or sales are subject to regulatory requirements, but this PSNC guidance focuses on mitigating IT/Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) impacts where such changes are planned.  PSNC recommends that pharmacy contractors planning such changes work through all of the change of circumstance guide/checklist and give the local NHS England team an absolute minimum of one month’s notice of the planned date for the change. The full transition period lasts for at least one month.

What is an ODS (F) code?

The Organisation Data Service (ODS) code is the unique identifying code used by the NHS for various purposes, including supporting national NHS IT systems, such as EPS. Most NHS providers have an ODS code and for pharmacies, it is a five-character code beginning with the letter F. It appears at the top of the pharmacy’s schedule of payments monthly document that is received from the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA). It has previously been known as OCS, NACS or F codes.

If your pharmacy’s ODS code is changed or deactivated, the following are affected:

  • NHSBSA payments to the contractor;
  • connectivity to NHS Services, e.g. use of EPS;
  • EPS patient nomination settings and the eRD (Electronic Repeat Dispensing service) cycle;
  • NHS Smartcards need updating by the Registration Authority (RA);
  • NHSmail;
  • NHS Choices listing of the pharmacy; and,
  • your pharmacy PMR system.

Planning well in advance of the change, by the contractor, the PMR system supplier and the NHS, is necessary to avoid disruption to patients, services and your payments.

Your ODS code may not need to change in some scenarios. Read more at the change of circumstance guide/checklist.

Change of pharmacy circumstance guide: ODS codes and planning required should your ODS code change

PSNC recommends that pharmacy contractors planning changes of circumstance work through all of the checklist below as well as giving the local NHS England team a minimum of one month’s notice of the planned date for the change:

PSNC Briefing 038/18: Change of pharmacy circumstance guide/checklist: ODS codes and planning required should your ODS code change

Frequently asked questions

Q. If the pharmacy ODS code changes, what actions are to be taken so that EPS will function smoothly for the pharmacy following the change?

Read more at the change of circumstance guide/checklist.

Q. I am changing system supplier. Does this impact my use of my ODS code?

Many of the same issues need to be considered with an IT system change. The key way to help minimise any impact when there is a change of system, is to inform outgoing and incoming system suppliers with sufficient notice and a date for the change to take place. System suppliers should also be able to assist contractors complete the change of IT systems. Consider dual running options, and how to prevent partially processed prescriptions being left on the old system. Read more at the change of circumstance guide/checklist.

Q. I am closing my pharmacy are there ODS/IT-related actions for me to consider?

If your pharmacy is closing permanently, it is important for nominations to be removed by NHS Digital in a timely manner to prevent patients’ prescriptions being sent to a closed pharmacy. You should give at least three month’s notice to NHS England before closing a pharmacy (6 months for a 100-hour pharmacy), and then inform your system supplier of the closure. It would be helpful to keep NHS England informed if there are any changes to allow them enough time to instruct NHS Digital to schedule and carry out removal of EPS nominations. You will also need to deal with partially dispensed prescriptions and the return of relevant prescriptions which have not been dispensed back to the Spine.

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