Quality Payments – NHSmail

Quality Payments – NHSmail

To be eligible to collect the points necessary to claim the Quality Payment, community pharmacy contractors must meet five gateway criteria, one of which is that on the day of the review:

‘Pharmacy staff at the pharmacy must be able to send and receive NHSmail from their shared premises NHSmail account, which must have at least two live linked accounts’.

Any problems with pharmacy NHSmail accounts can be dealt with via the helpdesk: pharmacyadmin@nhs.net.

The requirements for this criterion have changed since the review points in June 2018.

Click on a heading below for more information.

NHS England guidance

NHS England has published new guidance on the February 2019 review point of the Quality Payments Scheme.

The new guidance should be read in conjunction with NHS England’s previously published gateway criteria and quality criteria guidance:

  • NHS England – Pharmacy Quality Payments Gateway Criteria Guidance (published 23rd December 2016); and
  • NHS England – Pharmacy Quality Payments Quality Criteria Guidance (published 27th February 2017).

These documents are available on the NHS England website.

How to achieve this gateway criterion

This PSNC Briefing provides community pharmacy contractors with information and a checklist to assist them with meeting the NHSmail gateway criterion of the February 2019 Quality Payments Scheme:

PSNC Briefing 001/19: Quality Payments – meeting the NHSmail gateway criterion (January 2019)

Contractors who do not have a premises-shared NHSmail account

Pharmacy contractors who have yet to set up a premises-shared NHSmail account can do so using the automated portal found here. Setting up a shared account will include the creation of up to three personal accounts which will be used to access the shared account. Once a contractor has completed the registration using the automated portal, they will be sent login details for the personal accounts so that they can activate them, thereby allowing constant access to the shared mailbox.

Please note, evidence of application for an NHSmail shared mailbox will NOT be considered as having met the gateway criterion.

Any contractors who are having any issues with NHSmail in relation to transfer of ownership are encouraged to contact the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) Provider Assurance Team (nhsbsa.pharmacysupport@nhs.net) as soon as possible in order to resolve these issues ahead of the review date.

What is an active account?

An active linked NHSmail account is one that has been accessed within the last three months and is enabled to allow the user access to the premises-shared NHSmail account. Contractors are reminded that unless the password of a user NHSmail account is updated every 90 days the account will become inactive and the user will not be able to access it. Any such inactive accounts on the review date will not be considered as active. Linked NHSmail account holders are encouraged to ensure their passwords have been updated ahead of the review date to avoid becoming inactive.

A shared NHSmail account needs to have individual user NHSmail accounts linked to it to enable access. For business continuity purposes there should be at least two, and preferably more, active linked NHSmail accounts.

Contractors are reminded of the need to ensure that only appropriate NHSmail accounts, for example, members of staff, regular locums etc., should be linked to their premises shared NHSmail accounts. It would be considered a serious information governance breach if a premises shared NHSmail account was linked to a NHSmail account of a member of staff no longer working in the pharmacy.

Please note: A ‘super user’ NHSmail account is not considered as an active linked personal account and will not contribute to the requirement to have a minimum of two linked accounts. A super user account will usually belong to a user who is head office-based, responsible for the administration of more than one shared NHSmail account and is not involved in providing pharmaceutical services on a day-to-day basis at the individual pharmacies their account is linked to. 

Further information on the action contractors need to take can be found on the NHSmail page of the PSNC website.

Personal user accounts being used as a premises shared mailbox

A personal user account will be used to access the premises shared NHSmail account. Unless a contractor can send and receive email from the premises shared NHSmail account they will not meet the gateway criterion. Sending and receiving email from a personal NHSmail account will not be considered as having met the gateway criterion. If your pharmacy is using an individual user account as a shared mailbox, this will not meet the  gateway criterion. 

The declaration process

Contractors will be required to confirm through the NHS BSA online declaration page (the portal will go live on Monday 4th February 2019 at 9am and will be available until Friday 1st March 2019 at 11.59pm) that pharmacy staff at the pharmacy are able to send and receive NHSmail from their shared premises NHSmail account, which has at least two live linked accounts.

Validation of criterion

Contractors are advised to check the validation report, to be published on the NHS NHS BSA website, to ensure that they have met the NHSmail gateway criterion. The report will be published regularly during the review window (the publication schedule will be posted on the NHS BSA website by 30th November 2018). PSNC will alert contractors when this becomes available.

The report will highlight which pharmacies have a shared NHSmail account with a minimum of two active linked accounts at the time the report was collated.


FAQs on the Quality Payments Scheme can be found on the Quality Payments – FAQs and NHSmail pages.

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