PQS: Support for the valproate audit published

PQS: Support for the valproate audit published

November 5, 2019

Resources to support community pharmacy contractors to meet the valproate quality criterion of the Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS) have now been published, so contractors may want to consider when they are going to start completing the audit (if they have not already started).

Contractors must have started the valproate audit by 29th November 2019 at the very latest, to be able to meet the requirement to complete the audit over a consecutive three-month period. However, contractors are strongly encouraged to start the audit well before this date to reduce the risk of missing this deadline and allow themselves more flexibility on the date on when they make their PQS declaration. If a contractor does not start their audit until the pharmacy opens on 29th November 2019, they will not complete their audit until 28th February 2020, which is the final day for making a PQS declaration.

Briefing 052/19: Pharmacy Quality Scheme – Valproate quality criterion

PSNC has published Briefing 052/19: Pharmacy Quality Scheme – Valproate audit quality criterion, which provides contractors with a flow chart on how to meet the quality criterion.

Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group – Patient safety quality criteria guidance

The Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group has published guidance on meeting the patient safety quality criteria of the PQS, which includes information on the valproate audit.

Recording patient data

Contractors can choose to collect the patient data for the audit by using the NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) valproate audit data collection table (available as Annex 10 in the NHSE&I PQS guidance) or on PharmOutcomes.*

NHSE&I valproate data collection table

If contractors would prefer to use the NHSE&I valproate data collection table, PSNC has made this available as a standalone document:

Valproate audit data collection table (PDF) 

PSNC has also created a template GP referral form that contractors can choose to use if they need to refer a patient of childbearing potential on valproate to their GP:

Valproate GP referral form (Word)

Valproate GP referral form (PDF)


If contractors decide to use PharmOutcomes, additional patient information will need to be collected (which is not required on the NHSE&I valproate audit data collection table). Therefore, contractors are advised to either enter the data directly onto PharmOutcomes or use thePharmOutcomes data collection form for collecting patient information:

Valproate PharmOutcomes patient data collection form (PDF)

The above form can also be printed when you access the valproate audit on PharmOutcomes.

An automatic GP referral form can be sent via PharmOutcomes if contractors need to refer a patient of childbearing potential on valproate to their GP.

*The valproate audit on PharmOutcomes is freely available to all contractors; PSNC has agreed to use their licence to provide access. 

Additional resources

A joint valproate safety resource, is available which support pharmacy teams in helping women and girls who have been prescribed valproate medicines. The resource includes a decision pathway and key points for consideration to prompt conversations between the pharmacy team and their patients.

Further information on meeting the valproate quality criterion can be found at: psnc.org.uk/pqsvalproate


Q. Where can I order packs of information (Patient Guides, Patient Cards, warning stickers, etc) to support patients of childbearing potential on valproate of the risks in pregnancy and the need to be enrolled in the Pregnancy Prevention Programme?
Packs of information can be ordered from Sanofi’s medical information department on 0845 372 7101 or email UK-Medicalinformation@sanofi.com.

Q. For the valproate audit quality criterion, what happens if we wait until we get a prescription for a child or woman of childbearing potential and then there is not a three-month consecutive period left to complete the audit?
For the valproate audit, the contractor should decide when they will commence the consecutive three-month audit period and start it from that date (the NHSE&I guidance states ‘This audit is to be completed during a consecutive three-month period determined by the pharmacy’). The audit should not start when the pharmacy receives a prescription for valproate for a child or woman of childbearing potential.

If the pharmacy does not receive any prescriptions for valproate for girls or women of childbearing potential, then they are still entitled to claim for the valproate audit quality criterion as long as they have conducted the audit. They will be required to declare this on the day of the PQS declaration including the start and end date for their three-month audit period.

NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) has individual dispensing item data for each pharmacy and is able to check patient-specific information on a prescription to indicate whether the prescription was for a child or woman of childbearing potential and NHSE&I may review this data as part of a post-payment verification process.

Q. How do I access the valproate audit on PharmOutcomes?
 Once a contractor has logged into PharmOutcomes, the audit can be accessed by clicking on ‘Services’; and then the valproate audit is listed under the title ‘Pharmacy Quality Scheme – Quality criteria’.

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