PQS: Preparing to declare – additional FAQs

Published on: 2nd February 2022 | Updated on: 30th March 2022

After the announcement of the extension of the 2021/22 Pharmacy Quality Scheme and the publication of the declaration questions, PSNC has received several questions on these topics. PSNC has therefore confirmed some additional questions and answers with NHS England and NHS Improvement that will assist contractors in preparing for and making their PQS declaration.

Page last updated: 9th February 2022


General

Q. When can I make a declaration for a PQS payment?
The window for claiming a PQS payment on MYS is between 3pm on Thursday 3rd February 2022 and 11.59pm on Wednesday 2nd March 2022. It is important not to miss this deadline as you will not be able to claim a PQS payment if you do.

Q. Can I view the declaration questions ahead of making my declaration?
The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) has published the questions which will be included in the 2021/22 PQS declaration so community pharmacy contractors can view these ahead of making their declaration.

The questions are available on the NHSBSA PQS hub page; contractors should scroll down to the ‘Declaration questions’ section where they can access the questions in a Word document.

Contractors should note that all the questions in the declaration relating to the Primary Care Networks (PCN) domain are stated in the Word document. However, when contractors come to make their declaration on the NHSBSA’s Manage Your Service (MYS) portal, contractors will be directed to the relevant questions for them to answer, depending on the answers given to the first three questions in the ‘Questions to establish your role’ section:

  1. Are you in a Primary Care Network area?
  2. Is there a Pharmacy PCN Lead in your area?
  3. Is the Pharmacy PCN Lead based at your pharmacy?

Q. When will I be paid my PQS payment?
Contractors who met the Gateway criteria plus at least one domain and submitted their claim between 3pm on Thursday 3rd February 2022 and 11.59pm on Wednesday 2nd March 2022 will be paid their PQS payment on 1st April 2022.

Q. How long should I retain PQS paperwork/records for post-payment verification (PPV) purposes?
PSNC recommends that PQS paperwork/records are retained for three years following the submission of the PQS declaration for PPV purposes. Contractors may need to retain paperwork and records for longer periods for reasons other than PPV.

Q. Is it possible to complete the PQS declaration as a bulk submission for multiple pharmacies?
No. PQS declarations must be submitted as an individual pharmacy submission. There is no facility to submit a bulk declaration on behalf of multiple pharmacies.

Q. Do I need to make a declaration if my pharmacy does not meet the Gateway criterion for the 2021/22 PQS?
No, contractors are only required to make a declaration if they intend to claim payment for the Scheme. If contractors do not meet the Gateway criteria, they would not then be eligible to claim a PQS payment, therefore there is no requirement to make a declaration.

Extension of the Scheme

Q. Have all elements of PQS be extended until 31st March 2022?
No. Contractors now have from 1st April 2021 until 5th April 2022 to claim payments for the completion of a minimum of 20 completed New Medicine Service (NMS) provisions; this is a Gateway criterion and previously contractors needed to have provided the twenty NMS by 5th January 2022.

For the other scheme requirements, contractors have until 31st March 2022 to complete the domains and until 30th June 2022 to gather the evidence to demonstrate compliance, except for the following:

  • PCN Domain – this requires collaborative work on flu vaccination uptake which must be completed by 31st December 2021. The focus of the flu vaccinations is usually up to the end of the calendar year, so the deadline for this work will not be extended.
  • Advice on return of unwanted and used inhalers (Respiratory Domain) – the end of the period during which pharmacy teams should have conversations with patients dispensed an inhaler is still 31st January 2022.

Training requirements

Q. There are a number of questions with regards to whether certain staff members e.g. pharmacy professionals working at the pharmacy will have met certain training requirements and passed associated e-assessments (where applicable) by 31st March 2022. Which date should we use to calculate who to include and therefore be able to answer this question?
The date of declaration should be used. On the date of declaration, contractors should consider if there are staff members working in their pharmacy (on that day) who have not yet met the training requirements and e-assessments (where applicable) stated in the question. If there are, but the intention is that they will meet the training requirements and have passed the e-assessments by the 31st March 2022, then contractors, can answer yes to this question.

Q. There are a number of questions with regards to training that ask how many staff members e.g. pharmacy professionals will have met certain training requirements and passed associated e-assessments by 31st March 2022.Which date should we use to calculate which staff members to include and therefore be able to answer this question?
The date of declaration should be used. On the date of declaration, contractors should consider if there are any pharmacy professionals working in their pharmacy (on that day) who have not yet met the training requirements and e-assessments (where applicable) stated in the question. If there are, but the intention is that they will meet the training requirements and have passed the e-assessments by the 31st March 2022, then contractors, should include these pharmacy professionals in the total, as well as the registered pharmacy professionals who have already completed the required training and the associated e-assessment.

Primary Care Networks domain

Q. In the Primary Care Networks Domain section, I am asked ‘How many eligible people has your pharmacy vaccinated under the community pharmacy seasonal influenza vaccination advanced service between 1 September 2021 and 31 January 2022?’ Is this all patients or those aged 65 years and over as there is also a requirement for the contractor to have demonstrably contributed to the PCN achieving 80.1% or above for flu vaccination to patients aged 65 and over?
Contractors should enter the number of vaccinations they have administered to all eligible patients (not just those aged 65 and over). The requirement to have demonstrably contributed to the PCN achieving 80.1% or above for flu vaccination to patients aged 65 and over, is a separate requirement in the Domain.

Q. Where a Pharmacy PCN Lead leaves the role before the point a PQS declaration is made, can a declaration still be made by the pharmacy the lead was based at, as if the Pharmacy PCN Lead was still based at that pharmacy?
If a Pharmacy PCN Lead is no longer able to perform the role of the Lead, but has completed all the required engagement activity, then the pharmacy that the Lead was based at will still be able to make their declaration as if the Lead was still in post.

Contractors in the PCN will also need to complete their declarations with the name of the original Pharmacy PCN Lead. The departing Pharmacy PCN Lead or the pharmacy contractor will need to inform the LPC of their departure from the role, as well as all the aligned contractors in that PCN. The Lead must also confirm to the LPC that all the above required activity has also been completed. The LPC may want to ensure all contractors aligned to the PCN affected have the correct Pharmacy PCN Lead name and pharmacy details for the declaration.

However, if the requirements of the PCN domain have not yet been met by the departing Pharmacy PCN Lead, then a new Lead will need to be appointed and the pharmacy that the new Lead is based in will be the pharmacy that declares as the PCN Lead. Should both leads have partially contributed to the domains being completed, the two contractors could agree a private arrangement to share the PCN Lead funding in a manner which reflected the split of work undertaken.

Q. Our Pharmacy PCN Lead has resigned or left the role; are we still allowed to make declarations against the PCN domain?
Where a Pharmacy PCN Lead resigns or leaves the role, but the required activities have been completed before they resigned or left the role, the contractor will still be able to make their declaration as the Pharmacy PCN Lead.

Contractors aligned to the PCN are also able to declare against the PCN domain where they were involved and contributed to meeting the requirements of the domain.

Q. Where a Pharmacy PCN Lead has not managed to undertake relevant activities before the specified deadlines, how will this impact contractors aligned to that PCN?
If the activities required by the domain do not occur, then contractors aligned with that PCN cannot declare against that domain. The contractors who elected their Pharmacy PCN Lead need to hold them to account to undertake the activity and support meeting the requirements of the domain.

If there are problems with the ways of working in the PCN or a lack of activity by a Lead, the assistance of the LPC could be sought. The PCN domain requires collaboration with the Pharmacy PCN Lead, between contractors aligned with the PCN and with the PCN. This collaboration therefore requires active management within the group of contractors.

Q. What should I do if I have already completed my PQS declaration, but the PCN Pharmacy Lead has now changed to a different individual?
Your declaration of the name of the PCN Pharmacy Lead was correct at the time of declaration and made in good faith, so the change in the Lead will not affect the pharmacy’s PQS payment. To avoid the NHSBSA having to check with you about the name of the Pharmacy PCN Lead when they undertake the validation of that data, you can email the NHSBSA Provider Assurance team at nhsbsa.pharmacysupport@nhs.net to highlight the change in the Pharmacy PCN Lead.

Where possible, it would also be appropriate for the previous Pharmacy PCN Lead to email the NHSBSA to let them know that they are no longer the Lead.

Prevention domain

Q. I have received an email from ESPAUR saying that I have submitted fewer than 25 antibiotic checklists on the portal application but according to the email confirmations I have received, I have submitted data for more antibiotic checklists than the data shows. What should I do?
If you received the email during week commencing 31st January 2022, then you should ignore this email as ESPAUR has advised that an error has been identified with the data they sent out in this email; please see the PSNC news story on this.

You should continue to submit data via the portal application, or if you have submitted data for at least 25 TARGET antibiotic checklists and have the emails to confirm this, then you should make your PQS declaration based on the number of email confirmations you have received. You should ensure you keep these email confirmations as evidence of meeting the requirement.

Healthy living support domain

Q. In the Healthy living support Domain section of the declaration, there is a question asking how many patients have had their BMI calculated and waist circumference measured. Since there is a requirement to have proactively discussed weight management with a minimum of 25 patients, is the expectation that you will need to have calculated BMI and measured waist circumference for 25 patients or higher for this question to meet the requirement?
No. The Drug Tariff states that ‘A competent individual within the pharmacy (for example, a registered pharmacy professional or nominated team member) must be able to offer to measure a patient’s Body Mass Index (BMI), using an appropriate BMI calculator such as, the NHS healthy weight calculator and measure waist circumference’; and

When making a declaration for this criterion, the following information must be reported on the MYS application:

  • the total number of patients who had their BMI calculated and waist circumference measured, including explanation of the definition of BMI and the potential health impact of each.

Therefore, the requirement does not state that this number needs to be 25 or higher to meet the requirement.

Q. There is a requirement in the Healthy living support Domain that states ‘Pharmacy teams must proactively discuss weight management with a minimum of 25 patients’. Why is there not a question on this in the PQS declaration?
In the Drug Tariff, there is no requirement to make a declaration that the pharmacy team has proactively discussed weight management with a minimum of 25 patients on MYS. Contractors are instead asked to give figures on the outcomes of these conversations (e.g. number of patients who have had the BMI and waist measurements calculated and number of referrals made), rather than confirm that they have had the conversations.

However, the requirement to proactively discuss weight management with a minimum of 25 patients is a requirement of the Healthy living support domain, which contractors will need to be able to demonstrate they have met by 31 March 2022 if they claim for a payment for this domain.

What to do if you make a mistake in the PQS declaration

Q. What should I do if I have made a mistake in my PQS declaration and have claimed for a criterion that I did not achieve?
Email the NHSBSA Provider Assurance team at nhsbsa.pharmacysupport@nhs.net to let them know about the incorrectly claimed PQS criterion, so this can be amended in the MYS data before payments are calculated.

Q. What should I do if I have made a mistake in entering some of the data related to the various domains I have undertaken as part of the PQS?
Incorrect data can be highlighted by emailing the NHSBSA Provider Assurance team at nhsbsa.pharmacysupport@nhs.net to let them know and provide the correct data. It won’t be possible for your claim to be amended if you have not correctly claimed for a criterion, but it may be possible for the data to be amended in due course, to ensure the overall data reflects the activity that pharmacies undertook.

Read further Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the PQS 2021/22.

For more information on this topic please email info@psnc.org.uk

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