Quality Payments – FAQs

Quality Payments – FAQs

This page contains Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Quality Payments Scheme (last updated on 16th October 2018).

This page will continue to be updated as details are confirmed with NHS England for the February 2019 review point of the Quality Payments Scheme.


Click on a heading below for more information.

Background and general

Q. Do I have to engage with the Quality Payments Scheme?
No. The scheme is voluntary – contractors do not need to engage with it – but PSNC recommends that all contractors should seek to meet as many of the quality criteria as possible (as well as meeting the five gateway criteria). Contractors that successfully meet the requirements will receive Quality Payments which will be funded from a £37.5 million budget.

Q. Which pharmacies are eligible to take part in the Quality Payments Scheme?
All pharmacies on the pharmaceutical list in England (i.e. excluding Local Pharmaceutical Services (LPS) contracts) are eligible to take part in the Quality Payments Scheme, including pharmacies that are part of the Pharmacy Access Scheme (PhAS) and distance selling pharmacies.

Q. Has NHS England issued guidance on the Quality Payments Scheme for the February 2019 review point?
NHS England will be published new guidance ahead of the February 2019 review point of the Quality Payments Scheme, but this is not yet available.

The February 2019 guidance should be read in conjunction with NHS England’s gateway criteria guidance and the quality criteria guidance:

  • NHS England – Pharmacy Quality Payments Gateway Criteria Guidance (published 23rd December 2016); and
  • NHS England – Pharmacy Quality Payments Quality Criteria Guidance (published 27th February 2017).

These documents are available on the NHS England website.

Q. Is the Quality Payments Scheme going to continue after 2018/19?
No decisions have been made by the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England on the future of Quality Payments beyond 2018/19; this will be a matter for discussion with PSNC, once substantive negotiations commence.

Q. Are distance selling pharmacies eligible to take part in the Quality Payments Scheme?
Yes.

Q. Are pharmacies that qualify for the Pharmacy Access Scheme (PhAS) eligible to take part in the Quality Payments Scheme?
Yes.

Q. I am in the process of buying a pharmacy; who is responsible for completing the declaration on the NHS BSA website?
When a pharmacy has changed ownership during the data submission period, the contract holder on the day of the review is responsible for completing the declaration.

Q. I have recently opened a new pharmacy – will I be eligible to take part in the Quality Payments Scheme?
As long as the pharmacy is on the pharmaceutical list in England on the day of the review period (15th February 2019) then the pharmacy will be eligible to take part in the scheme.

However, the contractor will only be able to claim the quality points for the criteria that it is able to provide evidence of meeting at that review point. A pharmacy that has recently opened would need to consider how it would be able to provide evidence of meeting each of the gateway criteria to be eligible for a payment; and for each of the quality criteria it would wish to claim a payment for.

If the pharmacy has opened at a time which is close to the review date it may then not have had the opportunity to gather the evidence that would be required to demonstrate meeting a particular criterion.

Q. I have recently taken ownership of a pharmacy and the ODS code has changed; will I be eligible to take part in the Quality Payments Scheme?
As long as the pharmacy is on the pharmaceutical list in England on the day of the review period (15th February 2019) then the pharmacy will be eligible to take part in the scheme.

The new contractor would need to consider how they would be able to provide evidence of meeting each of the gateway criteria to be eligible for a payment; and for each of the quality criteria it would wish to claim a payment for. The contractor will only be able to claim the quality points for the criteria that it is able to provide evidence of meeting at that review point. The new contractor would not be able to use the evidence that had been collated by the previous contractor as, in effect, new contractual arrangements have come into place as and when the ownership of the pharmacy changed. For example, the new contractor could not use a patient safety report generated by the previous owner to claim the safety report criterion.

If the pharmacy has changed ownership at a time which is close to the next review date it may then not have had the opportunity to gather the evidence that would be required to demonstrate meeting a particular criterion.

Q. What evidence should I keep to demonstrate I have met the gateway and quality criteria requirements?
Different evidence is required for each different gateway or quality criteria. PSNC is currently updating PSNC Briefing: Quality Payments – Evidence checklist which will outline what evidence may help you to prove that you have met the relevant criteria.

Q. Can I use evidence from previous declarations?
Contractors should not rely on evidence from previous declarations because the timescales have changed for the criteria and there are a couple of additional requirements that contractors must meet. There may be some evidence that is sufficient, such as the Healthy Living Pharmacy certificate issued by the Royal Society for Public Health, however contractors must ensure that they meet the criteria with the appropriate evidence on 15th February 2019. Evidence from previous declarations that does not meet the new timescales and criteria on 15th February 2019 will not be sufficient to meet the criteria.

Q. Are pharmacies that hold local pharmaceutical services (LPS) contracts with NHS England eligible to take part in the Quality Payments Scheme?
No. Pharmacies that hold LPS contracts with NHS England are not eligible to take part in the Quality Payments Scheme. However, where LPS contracts mirror the contractual arrangements of those of the national contractual framework, NHS England may make local payments that are equivalent to the Quality Payments Scheme. These payments would also need to be claimed via the NHS BSA Quality Payments declaration. LPS contractors who are unsure if they would be eligible for such a local payment should contact their local NHS England team for advice.

Q. My pharmacy had an LPS contract but we were informed that we could not receive a local payment on the same basis as the Quality Payments Scheme by our local NHS England team. If the pharmacy reverts to the pharmaceutical list in England, will I be eligibletake part in the Quality Payments Scheme?
As long as the pharmacy is on the pharmaceutical list in England on the day of the review period (15th February 2019) then the pharmacy will be eligible to take part in the scheme.

However, the contractor will only be able to claim the quality points for the criteria that it is able to provide evidence of meeting at that review point. A pharmacy that has recently reverted would need to consider how it would be able to provide evidence of meeting each of the gateway criteria to be eligible for a payment; and for each of the quality criteria it would wish to claim a payment for.

If the pharmacy has reverted at a time which is close to the review date it may then not have had the opportunity to gather the evidence that would be required to demonstrate meeting a particular criterion.

Gateway criteria

Q. What are the gateway criteria?

To qualify for payments related to successfully meeting the elements of the Quality Payments, contractors must first meet five gateway criteria on the day of the review (15th February 2019):

  1. The contractor must be offering at the pharmacy Medicines Use Review (MUR) or New Medicine Service (NMS); or must be registered for NHS Urgent Medicine Supply Advanced Service Pilot;
  2. The NHS.UK entry, including bank holiday opening hours for the pharmacy must be up to date;
  3. The results of the last completed Community Pharmacy Patient Questionnaire is publicly available on the pharmacy’s NHS.UK page or for distance selling pharmacies it is displayed on their website;
  4. Pharmacy staff at the pharmacy must be able to send and receive NHSmail from their shared premises NHSmail account, which must have at least two live linked accounts; and
  5. The contractor must have consulted the NHS Digital Warranted Environment Specification (WES) and/or their System Supplier(s) and have assured themselves, and can demonstrate, that all their operating system and browser versions currently in use in their pharmacy to link to NHS Digital systems, such as the Electronic Prescription Service and Summary Care Record, comply with the WES; and are therefore supported by NHS Digital for connectivity to NHS Spine systems.

Q. Will I get a Quality Payment for passing the gateway criteria?
No. Passing the gateway criteria will not itself earn a Quality Payment for the contractor.

Q. I did not meet the gateway criteria for the June 2018 review point. Am I still eligible to take part in the Quality Payments Scheme if I meet the gateway criteria by the February 2019 review point?
Yes. If you meet the gateway criteria for the February 2019 review point, then you are eligible to take part in the Quality Payments Scheme and claim for the quality criteria achieved.

Provision of at least one Advanced service

Q. Do I need to make a declaration anywhere that we offer MURs and/or NMS, or that we are registered for/offering NUMSAS?
If a contractor is offering MUR and/or NMS, they must ensure this is stated on their NHS website profile, in the ‘Services’ section. Contractors will not be able to advertise that they offer NUMSAS as per the NUMSAS service specification; therefore there is no option to list NUMSAS on the NHS website.

NHS website entry up to date

Q. I have viewed my NHS website profile and my opening times (including Bank Holidays), the facilities the pharmacy provides and the services the pharmacy provides are all correct. Do I therefore meet the gateway criterion?
No. To meet the gateway criterion, contractors need to have logged in to their NHS website profile and either have edited or validated the opening times (including Bank Holiday opening times), the facilities the pharmacy provides and the services the pharmacy provides during the required time period.

Contractors must validate their profile even if their NHS website profile is correct otherwise they will not meet the gateway criterion and will therefore not be entitled to claim for a Quality Payment.

Q. Once I have edited and/or verified my Bank Holiday opening hours on my NHS website profile, what happens if my opening hours for these Bank Holidays change afterwards?
NHS England’s local teams will use the Bank Holiday opening hours entered in each pharmacy’s profile to plan provision of services on those dates. If the pharmacy’s planned opening hours for these Bank Holidays change after the editing and/or validation of their NHS website profile, they should update the Bank Holiday opening hours within their NHS website profile and they should notify their local NHS England team.

Q. The NHS England guidance states that I need to edit or validate my opening times, the facilities the pharmacy provides and the services the pharmacy provides on my NHS Choices profile. What if I don’t edit or validate all three parts of the NHS website profile?
The NHS England guidance clearly states that all three parts of the NHS website profile need to be edited or validated to meet the gateway criterion (the opening times (including Bank Holiday opening hours), the facilities the pharmacy provides and the services the pharmacy provides) during the required time period. Therefore, if all three sections are not edited or validated, contractors will not meet the requirements of the gateway criterion and will not be entitled to claim for a Quality Payment.

Q. I am having problems accessing my NHS website profile and can therefore not update my profile. What should I do?
Contractors that do not have editing rights to their profile, should email the NHS website service desk (nhswebsite.servicedesk@nhs.net). It is preferable for this email request to come from the pharmacy’s premises shared NHSmail account, as use of other email accounts may lead to a delay in editing rights being granted, while the validity of the request for editing rights is confirmed. To apply for editing rights, contractors should supply the below information, ideally by copying and pasting the table below into an email and completing the required information.

‘QPSAPPLICATION’ should be added to the subject line of the email; failure to add the code to the subject line may result in a processing delay and increase the risk of a failure to achieve this gateway criterion.

Name:
Email address (preferably the pharmacy premises shared NHSmail account): (This will be used as your username on the website).
Telephone number:
Job title:
Organisation:
ODS code:

 NHSmail

Q. What is the quickest way of accessing our premises shared NHSmail account?
To quickly access the premises shared NHSmail account of a community pharmacy, save the following URL: https://email.nhs.net/owa/nhspharmacy.xxx replacing xxx with the pharmacy’s NHSmail address. Then when you open the URL, you can log into the shared account with your personal NHSmail email address and password

Q. Does the pharmacy shared mailbox owner need to work in the pharmacy?
No. The pharmacy shared mailbox owner can be someone who works in the pharmacy, someone who is field-based or it can be someone who works at the pharmacy’s head office. It would be up to the individual contractor to decide who should take on this role.

Q. Can I be a pharmacy shared mailbox owner for more than one pharmacy?
Yes. An individual can be appointed as the pharmacy shared mailbox owner for all the pharmacies that a contractor owns or a pharmacy shared mailbox owner can be appointed for each individual pharmacy. It is up to the individual contractor to decide on the approach to take.

Q. What is the role of the pharmacy shared mailbox owner?
The pharmacy shared mailbox owner has the responsibility of managing the shared pharmacy NHSmail account, authenticating personal NHSmail accounts and linking them to the shared pharmacy NHSmail account or deleting the links.

Quality criteria

Q. Do I have to achieve all the criteria listed in the Quality Payments Scheme to claim payment?
No; contractors can claim for whichever of the criteria they achieve.

Q. Is it possible to achieve some of the points for a quality criterion at a review point if you partially meet the criterion, for example, if only 40% of pharmacy staff working in patient facing roles are trained ‘Dementia Friends’ instead of 80% can I claim half the points?
No. A contractor will either meet the criterion or not; it is not possible to achieve only some of the points in this way.

Patient safety report

Q. Does completion of the patient safety report replace the need to report patient safety incidents to the National Reporting and Learning Service?
No. Reporting patient safety incidents to the National Reporting and Learning Service (NRLS) is a contractual responsibility and pharmacy teams should continue to do this.

Q. Does the written patient safety report need to be submitted to NHS England?
No. The report does not need to be submitted routinely to NHS England, but contractors should ensure that a copy of the report is kept in the pharmacy.

Q. The quality payment criterion states that a ‘written’ safety report at premises level needs to be available for inspection; does this need to be handwritten or can it be computer generated (typed)?
The report can be either hand written or computer generated (typed).

Risk management

Q. Who is a registered pharmacy professional?
Registered pharmacy professionals are pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

Q. The risk management quality criterion states that, on the day of the review 80% of registered pharmacy professionals working at the pharmacy have satisfactorily completed the CPPE Risk Management training; does this include locums?
Yes. This includes locums, so contractors should encourage temporary staff, such as locum pharmacists, to undertake the training and e-assessment.

Q. Are pre-registration students covered by the description ‘registered pharmacy professional’, in regards to the CPPE risk management training?
No. It is, however, sensible for pre-registration students to undertake risk management training.

Q. Are part-time staff included in the risk management quality criterion i.e. do part time registered pharmacy professional need to complete the CPPE risk management training and e-assessment ?
Yes. This quality criterion applies to all registered pharmacy professionals working at the pharmacy. The number of hours a member of staff is employed for is not relevant for this quality criterion.

Healthy Living Pharmacy (HLP) self-assessment

Other frequently asked questions on HLP can be found on the RSPH website.

Q. What are the criteria for becoming a Healthy Living Pharmacy (HLP) Level 1?
The Healthy Living Pharmacy: Level 1 quality criteria set out the criteria that pharmacies must achieve to gain HLP Level 1 status.

Q. Do I need to complete a form or any paperwork prior to registering as a HLP to notify RSPH that my pharmacy intends to become a HLP Level 1?
No. Contractors do not need to notify RSPH that they intend to become an HLP Level 1. Contractors only need to notify RSPH once they are ready to register as a HLP Level 1 by completing the assessment of compliance on the RSPH website.

Q. How often (if at all) will the leadership and RSPH training need to be repeated?
There is no reference to the need for repeated training in the HLP quality requirements, so as long as a contractor has staff in post that have undertaken the relevant training, that will meet the requirements.

Q. The HLP quality criteria framework has a criterion which states that the pharmacy team actively works in collaboration with other community organisations to deliver pharmacy outreach and/or services. Can this be done in the pharmacy, as part of the health promotion event that is required to be held every 4 months or do the pharmacy staff have to deliver an event/service away from the pharmacy premises?
The outreach work needs to be carried out off the pharmacy premises, so while it would be good to have collaborative working on the premises, collaborative working off the premises would satisfy that requirement. HLPs have previously done that via attendance at local roadshows for the public, stands in shopping centres, visits to schools and care homes to take part in health promotion work.

Q. I have completed the assessment of compliance on the RSPH website; does that mean my pharmacy is now a HLP Level 1?
No. A pharmacy is not a HLP Level 1 until RSPH has confirmed registration and provided the HLP logo and certificate. RSPH will endeavour to contact contractors by email within 10 working days after they have received the submitted online assessment of compliance.

Contractors are therefore advised to consider this time frame when planning how long it will take to achieve HLP Level 1 to ensure this ‘processing time’ does not prevent contractors from achieving the quality criterion at the June 2018 review point.

Q. Can a Distance Selling Pharmacy (DSP) become a Healthy Living Pharmacy (HLP) Level 1 and therefore meet the quality criterion?
Any pharmacy that wishes to be an HLP must fully meet the requirements set out by Public Health England (PHE). These requirements were developed for bricks and mortar pharmacies, not pharmacies that operate via a distance selling model. DSPs are also prohibited from providing Essential Services, including the Public Health (Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles service), on the pharmacy premises. NHS England or PHE have not issued any guidance on this matter, but for the reasons set out above, PSNC believes it is unlikely that a DSP could fully meet the requirements for being an HLP.

Q. What constitutes a full time equivalent (FTE) member of staff?
A FTE is the hours worked by one employee on a full-time basis. The GOV.UK website states there is no specific number of hours that makes someone full or part-time, but a full-time worker will usually work 35 hours or more a week.

To read about the Working Time Regulations, please visit the GOV.UK website.

Q. Is attendance at face-to-face RSPH training a requirement to qualify for HLP Health Champion training?
The requirements to qualify for HLP Health Champion training will depend on the training provider that the contractor has chosen to use and how their course has been designed to meet the RSPH Level 2 Award in Understanding Health Improvement (the course that needs to be completed for someone to become a Health Champion). Therefore, depending on the course provider, face-to-face training may be required as part of their course. However, it is not stipulated that training must be provided face-to-face in the HLP Level 1 quality criteria guidance published by Public Health England.

Q. Is the RSPH HLP Level 1 register publicly available to view?
Yes. The RSPH HLP Level 1 register is available to view on the RSPH website.

Directory of Services

Q. Can I change my hours on the DoS Profile Updater without informing my local NHS England team?
No. Under the Terms of Service, contractors:

  • wishing to amend the distribution of their core contractual hours must apply to NHS England for permission to change them; and
  • wishing to amend any supplementary hours, that they open additional to the core contractual hours, must notify NHS England, giving at least three months’ notice of the intended change.

Full details regarding a contractor’s contractual responsibilities regarding opening hours, including relevant application forms for changes, is available on the PSNC Opening hours page.

Dementia Friends

Further FAQs on Dementia Friends can be found on the Dementia Friends website.

Dementia Friends has also produced an FAQ document to assist pharmacy team members with any issues.

Q. How do I become a Dementia Friend?
There are various routes by which people can become a Dementia Friend:

For organisations

For individuals

  • Individuals can register through the organisation route by either using the unique code from a pharmacy they are working in or by registering as an organisation using their name and the words ‘Pharmacy Locum’ e.g. ‘Jane Smith Pharmacy Locum’; or
  • Attending a face-to-face Dementia Friends Information Session – some LPCs or CPPE Regional Tutors may be planning to hold these events so consider contacting these organisations if you would like to attend a face-to-face session.

Q. Are part-time staff included in the quality payment criterion ‘On the day of the review, 80% of all pharmacy staff working in patient facing roles are trained Dementia Friends?’
Yes. This quality criterion applies to all pharmacy staff working in patient facing roles. The number of hours a member of staff is employed for is not relevant for this quality payment criterion.

Q. One of the quality criterion states that at least 80% of pharmacy staff in patient facing roles are Dementia Friends on the day of the review; does this include locums?
Yes. The 80% of pharmacy staff in patient facing roles includes locums, so contractors should encourage temporary staff, such as locum pharmacists, to become Dementia Friends.

Q. The Dementia Friends criterion requires on the day of the review, for 80% of all pharmacy staff working in patient facing roles to be Dementia Friends. For distance selling pharmacies (DSPs), does this only require delivery drivers to become Dementia Friends as they may be the only member of staff who has a patient facing role?
No. The criterion for pharmacy staff in patient facing roles would also apply to pharmacists (including locums), pharmacy technicians, dispensary staff, medicines counter assistants, etc. DSPs can provide Advanced and Enhanced Services on the premises (as well as Medicines Use Reviews (with permission from the local NHS England team) away from the pharmacy premises), if Essential Services do not form part of the Advanced or Enhanced Service provided to persons present at the pharmacy. Therefore, these members of staff could be patient facing and the criteria would apply to them.

Q. My pharmacy team have all become Dementia Friends, but we haven’t received our Dementia Friends badges yet. Will we still meet the quality criterion if our badges have not arrived by the February 2019 review point?
Yes. If the pharmacy team has watched the online videos and submitted their details as stated in PSNC Briefing 054/18: Quality Payments – How to become a Dementia Friend, the pharmacy will still meet the quality criterion. Dementia Friends badges are not required to meet the quality criterion.

Claiming Quality Payments

Q. How do I claim payment for the Quality Payments Scheme?
To claim for a Quality Payment, contractors will need to complete a declaration via the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) website (the portal will go live on Monday 4th February 2019 at 9am and will be available until Friday 1st March 2019 at 11.59pm).

Q. When is the review point for the Quality Payments Scheme?
The review point is 15th February 2019.

Q. Do I need to make my declaration for a Quality Payment on the day of the review point i.e. 15th February 2019?
Declarations do not need to be made on this date, but they must be made during the declaration period listed below:

Monday 4th February at 9am to Friday 1st March 2019 at 11:59pm

Contractors can use this facility to start entering data as soon as the system goes live on 4th February 201. The final submission must be made before the closure of the declaration form at 11:59pm on 1st March 2019.

Q. The declaration portal opens on Monday 4th February 2019 which is before the review point (Friday 15th February 2019). Can I submit my declaration on the NHS BSA website for a Quality Payment before the review date?
Contractors can access the NHS BSA portal to make their declaration before the review point and it would be up to the contractor to decide if it is appropriate to submit their declaration before the review point.

Contractors can start adding data and will be able to re-enter the portal to add information at a later date before the portal closes; however, contractors must remember to re-enter the portal and submit the declaration before Friday 1st March 2019  11.59pm otherwise they will not be entitled to a Quality Payment.

Contractors can also submit their declaration before the review point, if they know they will definitely meet the criteria they are claiming for before the review date.

Q. Do I need to make a declaration on the NHS BSA website if my pharmacy does not meet the gateway criteria?
No, contractors are only required to make a declaration if they intend to claim a Quality Payment. If contractors do not meet all five of the gateway criteria they would not then be eligible to claim a payment, therefore there is no requirement to make a declaration on the NHS BSA website.

Q. Do you need to use an NHSmail email address when completing the declaration on the NHS BSA website to claim for a Quality Payment?
You do not need to enter an NHSmail email address when you are first asked for your email address as part of the declaration process. Contractors can choose which email address they want to use to receive information from NHS BSA confirming that the declaration has been successfully submitted and confirming the details that have been declared once their declaration has been submitted.

Q. Once I have submitted my declaration on the NHS BSA website for the Quality Payments Scheme, will I get a confirmation email?
Yes. Once the declaration has been submitted the contractor will receive an email from the NHS BSA confirming that the declaration has been successfully submitted and confirming the details that have been declared. This email should be retained by the pharmacy as proof that the declaration was submitted and the date of submission.

Q. Who will decide if a contractor meets the gateway and quality criteria at the review point?
The contractor will complete the declaration on the NHS BSA website; therefore, it is for the contractor to decide if they have met all of the gateway criteria and some or all of the quality criteria.

Q. Is it possible to partially complete the NHS BSA declaration for my Quality Payment, and then submit it later before the deadline?
Yes. However, if contractors partially complete the form, they will need to ensure they remember to complete the declaration and submit this by the deadline. Contractors who only partially complete the declaration and do not submit it will not be eligible for a Quality Payment.

Q. Does the email which the pharmacy receives after they have submitted their declaration for a Quality Payment include a summary of the information that was declared?
Yes, the email will contain a summary of the answers provided to the gateway and quality criterion questions.

Payment information

Q. How much is each point worth?
The funding will be divided between qualifying pharmacies based on the number of points they have achieved, up to a maximum of £64 per point. Each point will have a minimum value of £32, which is the value of a point if all pharmacy contractors achieving maximum points.

Q. Will there be a reconciliation payment?
No. Unlike the previous declarations, there will not be a reconciliation payment made to contractors, as there is only a single declaration point for this scheme and the payment made to contractors will therefore be calculated to distribute the full £37.5 million funding.

Q. When will I receive my payment for the Quality Payments Scheme?
Payment for the February 2019 review point will be paid as part of the full payment for the March 2019 submission to the Pricing Authority (which contractors will receive at the start of June).

Q. Why will the payment for the February 2019 review point be received as part of the final payment for the March 2019 submission?
The NHS BSA declarations portal closes in March 2019 so therefore this payment will be calculated as part of the full value of services for March 2019 and will be received in the payment which contractors receive at the start of June 2019.

Q. Are Quality Payments made according to which quality criteria are met at the review point?
Yes.

Q. How will the PhAS payment be affected if contractors do not achieve the full quality criteria?
When the funding that PhAS pharmacies receive is calculated, it is assumed that the contractor will achieve 100 points of the Quality Payments Scheme. The value of those Quality Payment points is deducted before the final PhAS payment is set. PhAS pharmacy contractors can earn back the deducted Quality Payments by earning as many points as possible, the same way as other contractors.

The contractor will be paid a Quality Payment according to which criteria they have achieved; the PhAS payment remains unchanged irrespective of whatever Quality Payment is received by the contractor.

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