PhAS 2022 to start soon and review application window to open in January

The details about the revised Pharmacy Access Scheme (PhAS) for 2022 were published earlier this year.

Community pharmacy contractors also received one or more letters this Autumn from the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) which indicated whether a contractor’s pharmacy/ies would:

  • remain eligible for PhAS, with details of payment, or
  • become eligible for PhAS with details of payment, or
  • not, or no longer, be eligible for PhAS, (such a decision is usually based on distance calculation* or dispensing volume)

*These letters included a link to the distance mapping tool used by the NHSBSA, so that contractors could check the distance calculation made, and request a review if they believe their pharmacy/ies should be eligible.

For eligible pharmacies, PhAS payments are dependent on registration on Manage Your Service (MYS) to provide the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS). For the start of the scheme, registration is necessary by 31 December 2021.

Read PSNC’s briefing, DHSC guidance and NHSBSA guidance on the PhAS 2022

Review applications

At the start of PhAS 2022, a review process allows NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) to consider extenuating circumstances which may mean that patient access is not being protected in the way intended by the scheme. The review is based on contractor application.

The review application window for contractors is between January 4th 2022 and midnight on 4th February 2022. Those contractors with pharmacies that would have been eligible for PhAS but for the distance criteria/calculation, and so who may want to request a review, were informed of this in the Autumn letters.

NHSE&I has now completed the 2022 PhAS: contractor guidance on submitting an eligibility review application – distance grounds only. Contractors are strongly encouraged to read this guidance before starting their applications, so they are aware of the application process. For example, applications must be made using the NHSE&I web review portal and it is important to gather all the evidence you need for an application before you start it. This guidance is available on PSNC’s website now and will be published on the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC’s) website in due course.

Applications for a review can be made on two grounds:

Inaccuracies in distance determination, for example, if the pharmacy postcode is incorrect (for your pharmacy or the nearest pharmacy) or the distance from the next pharmacy is calculated incorrectly (the OS mapping tool which must be used for calculations takes account of footpaths); and

Physical feature anomalies, such as a semi-permanent roadblock or a steep hill that mean two pharmacies are then more than 1 mile from each other. Those contractors intending to seek a review are advised to ensure the pharmacy is registered on MYS to provide CPCS.

Review applications will be considered by the relevant NHSE&I regional pharmacy contract team and the review decisions made by the relevant Pharmaceutical Services Regulations Committee (PSRC). Subject to the overall number of applications received, it is envisaged that all contractors will be informed of the outcome of their review by the end of May 2022.

For further information, please visit PSNC’s PhAS webpage. If you have any questions or  you would like more information, please contact Gordon Hockey, Director, Legal or Layla Rahman, Regulations Officer.