NHS Urgent Medicine Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS)
On 20th October 2016, the Department of Health (DH) and NHS England announced that as part of the 2016/17 and 2017/18 community pharmacy funding settlement, money from the Pharmacy Integration Fund (PhIF) would be used to fund a national pilot of a community pharmacy Urgent Medicine Supply Service. The service is being commissioned as an Advanced Service and it will run from 1st December 2016 to 31st March 2018 with a review point to consider progress in September 2017.
The decision comes after PSNC proposed a community pharmacy emergency supply service as part of its counter proposal to the NHS and Government, but was clear that any new national service would need additional funding rather than being funded from within the existing community pharmacy funding envelope.
DH then proposed that the PhIF could be used to fund a pilot scheme to test and evaluate such a service in order to inform possible future commissioning.
The service specification and the Directions
The objectives of the service are to:
- manage appropriately NHS 111 requests for urgent medicine supply;
- reduce demand on the rest of the urgent care system;
- resolve problems leading to patients running out of their medicines; and
- increase patients’ awareness of electronic repeat dispensing.
Secretary of State Directions
The Directions provide the legal basis for the provision of Advanced Services. The Department of Health has signed amendments to The Pharmaceutical Services (Advanced and Enhanced Services) (England) Directions 2013 allowing NUMSAS to commence from 1st December 2016.
PSNC has produced a consolidation of the Secretary of State’s Directions to the end of December 2016 which is available here.
Signing up to provide the service
Community pharmacy contractors are able to notify NHS England of their intention to provide the NUMSAS pilot by completing the notification form on the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) website.
All contractors that meet the requirements set out in the service specification for the NUMSAS, including the requirement that the pharmacy has a shared NHSmail mailbox, are able to register; however, contractors will only be able to receive referrals from NHS 111 and provide the service when the service goes live in the contractor’s area (see ‘Roll out of the service’ section).
Requirement for a shared NHSmail mailbox
A requirement in the service specification is that if a contractor intends to provide the service, they must have a shared NHSmail mailbox for each of the pharmacy premises from where the service will be provided. Contractors should not register for the service until they have such a mailbox.
To access a shared NHSmail mailbox, users must have their own personal NHSmail address which is linked to the shared mailbox. This is to allow different staff members to access the mailbox without sharing of login details. Currently, only a small number of pharmacies have premises specific shared NHSmail mailboxes.
Communicating with GP practices
Notifying the patient’s GP practice when a supply of a medicine or appliance is made is a requirement of the NUMSAS.
Contractors must ensure that a notification is sent to the patient’s GP practice on the same day the medicine or appliance is supplied or as soon as possible after the pharmacy opens on the following working day. This can be undertaken by secure email or secure electronic data interchange. If necessary the pharmacy should contact the GP practice for details of their secure email address. Where electronic notification is not possible, the pharmacy contractor should send the notification via post, hand delivery or “safe haven” fax (this should only happen where the pharmacy has confirmed with the GP practice the number of the fax and that it is a “safe haven”).
Where the notification to the GP practice is undertaken via hardcopy/fax the national GP Practice Notification Form should be used:
Patients must be asked to complete a copy of the national patient questionnaire (Annex D of the service specification) following the supply of a medicine or appliance.
NHS England will be launching an IT platform to enable patient questionnaires from the NUMSAS to be completed electronically either by the patient themselves or with help from the pharmacy team.
The IT platform will allow patient questionnaire details to be recorded in a number of ways including:
- completing the questionnaire online – a tablet device could be used in the pharmacy (if available) and the patient could input their responses;
- using a QR code to access the questionnaire if the patient has a smart phone with a QR code reader App installed on it;
- providing the patient with a compliments slip detailing the website address and QR code for them to complete the questionnaire online at a convenient time; and
- a downloadable copy of the patient questionnaire which the patient can complete in the pharmacy.
When patient questionnaires are completed on paper, contractors should utilise the functionality available on the IT platform to submit patients’ responses to the questionnaire so that these responses can be collated and analysed along with those submitted electronically.
A guidance document on how to use to complete the process will be made available on the IT platform.
To claim payment for this service, contractors must complete the NHS Urgent Medicines Supply Advanced Service Pilot claim form and submit it to the NHS BSA, along with the completed FP10DT EPS dispensing tokens (completed as part of the NUMSAS), not later than the 5th day of the month following that in which the urgent supply was made.
The process will be separate to the submission of other FP10 forms, do not send the claim form with your prescription bundle at the end of the month. The completed form should be sent to Prescription Services, Bridge House, 152 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6SN in a secure manner that enables tracking and tracing of the delivery.