Early advance payments for all contractors following an end to PEPS
From November 2021, all community pharmacy contractors will have the chance to receive earlier advance payments, following agreement between PSNC and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). Advance payments will be made approximately 20 days earlier than the current payment timetable for contractors who make their monthly FP34C submissions through the Manage Your Service (MYS) portal by the 5th of the month.
The agreement came as part of discussions on the Pharmacy Earlier Payment Scheme (PEPS), which DHSC decided to end following the collapse of Greensill Capital. The option to receive earlier payments (for prescriptions dispensed from October 2021 onwards) should benefit all contractors, whether or not they had taken advantage of the PEPS.
The paper FP34C submission document will only be available until March 2022 (for February 2022 prescriptions) after which MYS will be the only route for all monthly submissions. Contractors who continue to use the paper FP34C submission document (from November 2021 to March 2022) will NOT receive any earlier advance payments but instead will receive advance payments in accordance with the current payment timetable i.e on or around the 1st of the month following submission. Therefore, contractors who use paper FP34Cs for their monthly submissions are strongly encouraged to start using the MYS portal to make their declarations.
The final reconciliation payment date remains unchanged i.e. this will continue to be paid on the 1st working day of the month approximately two months after contractors have submitted the appropriate FP34C form and prescriptions for pricing.
PEPS pharmacy contractors should note that the final PEPS payments will be paid on 1st October 2021 and from 1st November, a 12-month transition arrangement has been agreed for existing PEPS pharmacy contractors to transfer over to the new earlier advance payment timetable available to ALL contractors from November 2021.
In addition to the notice of the end of PEPS, the changes to the advance payment timetable and submission requirements, the published Drug Tariff determination for September 2021 also outlines:
- different payment arrangements for late submissions which will also incur administrative charges;
- an extension to the deadlines for submission of FP34C and dispatch of prescription bundle in months where a bank holiday occurs during the first five days of the month;
- contingency arrangements for contractors who are unable to submit FP34C through MYS; and
- requirements for prescriptions issued via Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) and token submission.
Please note that the changes above are not reflected in the published version of the September 2021 Drug Tariff.
Further details for contractors are outlined in this PSNC Briefing
PSNC also plan to hold a webinar for contractors to explain the changes and offer further practical support. Details on the webinar to follow.
PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said:
“The option for all community pharmacy contractors to bring forward the timing of their advance payments is a long overdue and very welcome development that will benefit all pharmacy businesses. The agreement follows several months of discussions between PSNC and HM Government, and PSNC is pleased to have got a positive outcome for all contractors.
The move to using MYS will mean changes for some contractors so we have made sure that they have the time to do this: this is all part of integrating us, including digitally, better with the NHS, and in the long term going digital should make processes more streamlined.
I know that contractors using the PEPS have been anxious for news, and I hope that today’s announcement offers them the reassurance that they need. DHSC have been adamant that the scheme must not continue, but to make this as manageable as possible we have negotiated an extended transition period alongside the shift in timings of the Advance Payments. This should significantly ease cashflow pressures on contractors currently using the PEPS.”