Asthma referrals


The Quality Payments scheme for 2017/18 has now ended. We will update this section when we receive information about the final outcome and plans for any future Quality Payments.

Note: The information on this page is a summary of the requirements. We strongly advise pharmacies to read the full NHS England guidance as well – there are links at the end of this page.

Asthma referrals

Points available: 10 points (£640) available twice a year (i.e. £1,280 each year). You can claim in November even if you also claimed this payment in April.

What’s involved

On 24th November, you must have evidence of referring asthma patients to an appropriate health professional for asthma review if they have been dispensed more than six short-acting bronchodilators in the last six months without corticosteroid inhalers.

This is a measure of clinical effectiveness in community pharmacy. Patients in the target group may need an urgent assessment of their asthma. These patients may also benefit from the pharmacy carrying out an inhaler technique check and a MUR to help them understand how to manage their medication and inhaler.

Evidence required & claims process

  • You need to declare in your NHS BSA Quality Payments submission that you have identified any patients in this group and referred them for review. Keep evidence of this in your pharmacy.
  • If you don’t have patients in this category, you can still claim the Quality Payment as long as you can demonstrate you have worked to identify people and have systems in place to refer anyone who would be eligible.

Identifying patients

You can identify patients (or demonstrate you have tried) via one or more of the following:

  • Monitoring SABA inhalers dispensed in rolling six-month periods via your PMR or by accessing SCR where appropriate
  • Monitoring emergency supply requests for SABA inhalers from patients / NUMSAS
  • Monitoring out-of-hours/urgent prescriptions for SABA inhalers
  • Monitoring repeat prescriptions for SABA inhalers
  • Monitoring SABA inhalers dispensed in MUR/NMS
  • Monitoring non-collection of prescriptions for steroid inhalers
  • As a minimum, every time a SABA inhaler is dispensed without a steroid inhaler you should check the dispensing history for SABA and steroid inhalers. This PSNC flowchart includes useful guidance.

Communicating with GPs

It’s important to notify the patient’s GP of any interventions, so they know the action you have taken to help the patient manage their asthma. If you do not currently refer patients for asthma review, you may find it useful to contact local GP practices first and check how they prefer to receive referrals. These PSNC resources are useful:

Data collection

  • PharmOutcomes has an asthma referral tool that you may find helpful in recording evidence for Quality Payments. You can access it via the Services link on the PharmOutcomes homepage. If you don’t have a log-in, contact the PharmOutcomes helpdesk.
  • This template is also a useful way of logging the action you’ve taken and patients referred for asthma review. (Note: If you are sending this data collection form to commissioners, delete the bag label information on the left hand of the form so you don’t breach patient confidentiality.)

Full guidance from NHS England

This tip-sheet is just a summary. You must also read the full NHS England guidance to make sure you meet the Quality Payments criteria:

Further guidance and useful links

Last updated: 27th December 2017