Regs explainer (#11): NHSE&I inspections and access to electronic information


Regs explainer (#11): NHSE&I inspections and access to electronic information

November 6, 2020

On 20th October 2020 new NHS regulations were laid to introduce changes to the Terms of Service for pharmacy contractors. Some of these changes relate to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but most are changes which were previously agreed as part of the 5-year Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) and were originally planned to be introduced in July 2020.

This article is one of a series, explaining what the changes mean for pharmacy contractors and their teams.

These changes apply from:

9th November 2020

What are the new requirements?

Currently, a pharmacy contractor must allow persons authorised in writing by NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I), to enter and inspect the pharmacy at any reasonable time, and, subject to certain requirements, allow access to any information which is reasonably required:

  • for ascertaining whether the contractor is complying with the terms of service;
  • auditing, monitoring and analysing the contractor’s provision made for patient care and treatment in the course of providing NHS pharmacy services, and management of NHS pharmacy services;
  • in connection with its functions that relate to NHS pharmacy services.

Pharmacy contractors must now, on request, also send to NHSE&I by electronic means, any information that could be requested at an inspection, if the contractor has the relevant information in electronic form, or information can reasonably be converted into an appropriate electronic form. If that is not possible, NHSE&I may need to visit the pharmacy to inspect the information.

Additionally, at NHSE&I’s request, or at the request of a person authorised in writing by NHSE&I, a contractor must send to NHSE&I a duly completed questionnaire, for example, the Community Pharmacy Assurance Framework (CPAF) screening questionnaire or full questionnaire.

The questionnaire must be approved by NHSE&I and be for the purpose of determining whether an inspection of the pharmacy is necessary or expedient. NHSE&I must consult PSNC before a contractor is asked to complete a questionnaire, as is the normal process in relation to CPAF.

Where can I get more support on this?

Further information on contract monitoring can be found on our Contract monitoring page.


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