Gateway criteria

NOTE: The claims deadline for February 2019’s Quality Payments was Friday 1st March 2019. We will update these pages as soon as we know whether there will be a Quality Payments scheme in 2019/20. In the meantime, these pages are here for archive purposes.

Download this page as a PDF.

How to meet the Gateway Criteria

Essential: If you don’t meet all 5 criteria on the review date (15th February 2019), you won’t be eligible to claim Quality Payments. These criteria have changed since June 2018.

What’s involved:

1: Provision of Advanced Services

Your pharmacy must offer MUR, NMS or be registered to provide NUMSAS; other advanced services don’t count:

  • If you provide MUR or NMS, make sure your NHS.UK (NHS website) profile mentions this. Don’t add NUMSAS as patients can only access this by NHS111 referral.
  • Make sure you have claimed for some MUR/NMS activity in the last 12 months.
  • That’s because your NHS.UK profile and MUR/NMS claim history may be checked in the validation process for Quality Payments claims to verify you are actually providing the service. If you have not claimed for MUR/NMS in the last 12 months, think carefully about how you can prove you provide the service.

2: Up-to-date NHS.UK (NHS website) profile

This is the gateway criterion that caused most validation issues for pharmacies claiming previous Quality Payments, so don’t leave it to the last minute. You must edit/validate all three sections of your profile between 00.00 on Monday 3rd December 2018 and 23.59 on Friday 15th February 2019. If you last did this before 3rd December 2018, you must do it again or you will not qualify for Quality Payments.

Read our separate guide on how to check, update and validate your NHS.UK entry whether you are a bricks-and-mortar pharmacy or distance-selling pharmacy.

3: Community Pharmacy Patient Questionnaire

This is now a gateway criterion rather than one of the quality criteria. You must have published your most recent (i.e. within the last 12 months) Community Pharmacy Patient Questionnaire (CPPQ) results:

  • Bricks-and-mortar pharmacies: You must have published it on your NHS.UK profile
  • Distance-selling pharmacies: You must have published it on your own website and informed

Read our separate guide explaining how to upload your CPPQ results to NHS.UK and/or inform NHS BSA if you are a distance-selling pharmacy. You MUST follow the process exactly or you may find you are ineligible for Quality Payments.

4: Ability to send and receive NHSmail

The requirements have changed since 2018. Pharmacies must now have at least two live linked accounts to their shared premises NHSmail account, as well as being able to send and receive NHSmail on 15th February 2019. This will be validated by information from NHS Digital based on usage of the pharmacy NHSmail and its linked NHSmail accounts. The linked accounts must be for staff working at the pharmacy or regular locums. You cannot have accounts linked to former staff members. Read our separate guide to ensuring compliance with the NHSmail gateway requirements.

5: Compliance with NHS Digital Warranted Environment Specification (WES)

Contractors need to consult the WES specification and/or your system supplier(s) and make sure your IT systems are compliant – i.e. that your operating system (e.g. Windows) and web browsers (e.g. Chrome/Edge) are supported by NHS Digital to connect to NHS systems. You need to make sure all computers in your pharmacy are compliant. Pharmacies should also log into the Summary Care Record at least once between 14th November 2018 and 15th February 2019, so NHS Digital can confirm your systems are compliant.

WES-compliant operating systems:   WES-compliant web browsers:
Windows Server 2012 R2 Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 11
Windows 7 SP1 32-bit / 64-bit Microsoft Edge
Windows 8.1 32-bit / 64-bit Google Chrome
Windows 10 64-bit Mozilla Firefox

Checking you meet the gateway criteria before 15th February:

Advanced Service, NHS website (NHS.UK), CPPQ, NHSmail

NHS BSA is publishing weekly datasets so pharmacies can see whether they have met these four gateway criteria. To check, go to the NHS BSA Quality Payments webpage. Scroll down to ‘Datasets for gateway criteria’, click on the link to the Excel spreadsheet and find your pharmacy. It looks like this:

The ticks and crosses indicate whether you have met that particular gateway requirement. The red/green boxes are linked to the NHS website (NHS.UK) – you must have checked/validated all three sections (opening hours, services & facilities) to meet the NHS website criteria. If these three boxes are green but there’s a cross in your NHS website, then double-check you have included MUR/NMS in the services part of your NHS.UK entry.

WES IT specification

NHS BSA is emailing pharmacies from early 2019 to confirm whether they meet the WES gateway criteria. Keep this email as evidence of your compliance. Make sure you have also logged into Summary Care Record at least once since 14th November 2018.

Pharmacies that are not compliant will receive weekly updates until they are compliant or until March. All computers in the pharmacy must be compliant. You can check your own compliance by going to to see what browser and operating system you’re using.

Checking your compliance when you claim your Quality Payments:

NHS BSA is using a new system called Manage Your Service for submitting Quality Payments claims. The system will give you real-time confirmation of whether you have met the five gateway criteria, based on national datasets e.g. from NHS Digital. [You will also be able to claim via a ‘snap survey’ but this won’t confirm you meet the gateway criteria.]

We would recommend starting your Quality Payments claim as soon as the portal opens on Monday 4th February so you can confirm you meet the gateway criteria and take action if required. Gateway criteria performance (e.g. when you updated your NHS.UK profile and provision of advanced services) will be updated weekly from national datasets.

If you know you met the gateway criteria by 15th February, but the Manage Your Service application doesn’t confirm that when you make your submission, you need to contact by 29th March 2019 to explain how you met the criteria.

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. There are 3 key documents:

  • Updated guidance for February 2019
  • Gateway Criteria Guidance
  • Quality Criteria Guidance