Pharmacy Quality Scheme – Aspiration payment

Pharmacy Quality Scheme – Aspiration payment

An Aspiration payment is available for the Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS) 2019/20 which supports cash flow and recognises that there is only one declaration period in 2019/20 towards the end of the year.

The Aspiration payment is optional; if contractors do not want to claim it, it will not impact on the contractor’s ability to claim a PQS payment in February 2020.


Click on a heading below for more information.

How do I claim for an Aspiration payment?

Contractors will need to decide which domains they intend to meet (when they make their declaration in February 2020) and declare this on the NHSBSA MYS application. Contractors must claim for an Aspiration payment between 9am on 30th September 2019 and 11.59pm on 1st November 2019.

Contractors will be paid their Aspiration payment on 29th November 2019.

The maximum number of points for which a contractor can be paid an Aspiration payment is 70% of their average number of points achieved across the two review points in the 2018/19 QPS (claimed in June 2018 and February 2019).

Therefore, if a pharmacy did not claim at either declaration period in 2018/19 or made a claim and were deemed not eligible to receive a payment (because they did not meet the gateway criteria), they will not be eligible to claim an Aspiration payment.

If a pharmacy made a declaration for the 2018/19 QPS but during post-payment validation they were found to have not achieved the gateway or quality criteria and, as a result, had a payment recovered from them, the Aspiration payment would be based on the amended number of points, not the amount of points declared.

The value of the point for the Aspiration payment is set at £64, which is the minimum value of a point for the 2019/20 PQS. A pharmacy must have claimed at one or both of the review points in 2018/19 (in June 2018 and/or February 2019), to be eligible to claim an Aspiration payment. An Aspiration payment can only be paid under the same ODS code as that used in 2018/19.

Where pharmacies have been paid an Aspiration payment which exceeds their final declared total, they must pay back monies for criteria which have subsequently not been achieved; this will be deducted automatically by the NHSBSA. Receiving an Aspiration payment is conditional on a contractor’s agreement to this arrangement. This also applies to any contractor who has ceased trading between receiving an Aspiration payment and the review date.

Worked example scenarios

Below are several worked examples to explain how the Aspiration payment will work in practice.

Pharmacy A

Points claimed in 2018/19 H1 100
Points claimed in 2018/19 H2 100
2018/19 average points 100
Maximum Aspiration points which can be paid 70
Points intending to achieve in 2019/20 PQS 100
Aspiration payment £4,480
Points achieved at Feb 2020 declaration 100
Reconciliation payment £1,920
Total 2019/20 payment £6,400
  • The pharmacy achieved an average points tally of 100 in 2018/19, and intends to achieve 100 points in 2019/20. They receive an Aspiration payment of £4,480, which is 70 points worth (i.e. 100 x 70%).
  • The pharmacy achieves the 100 points as intended, so is entitled to an extra payment of £1,920 (i.e. the total value of the points achieved, minus the amount already received as the Aspiration payment).

Pharmacy B

Points claimed in 2018/19 H1 100
Points claimed in 2018/19 H2 100
2018/19 average points 100
Maximum Aspiration points which can be paid 70
Points intending to achieve in 2019/20 PQS 50
Aspiration payment £3,200
Points achieved at Feb 2020 declaration 50
Reconciliation payment £0
Total 2019/20 payment £3,200
  • The pharmacy achieved an average points tally of 100 in 2018/19. The maximum they can receive as an Aspiration payment for 2019/20 is 70 points worth (£4,480), however as they only intend to achieve 50 points in 2019/20, their Aspiration payment is therefore £3,200.
  • The pharmacy achieves 50 points as intended, and no reconciliation payments are required as they were paid for 50 points in the Aspiration payment.

Pharmacy C

Points claimed in 2018/19 H1 50
Points claimed in 2018/19 H2 50
2018/19 average points 50
Maximum Aspiration points which can be paid 35
Points intending to achieve in 2019/20 PQS 100
Aspiration payment £2,240
Points achieved at Feb 2020 declaration 75
Reconciliation payment £2,560
Total 2019/20 payment £4,800
  • The pharmacy achieved an average points tally of 50 in 2018/19. They intend to achieve 100 points in 2019/20, but the maximum points they can be paid for as the Aspiration payment is 35 points (50 x 70%). Therefore, their aspiration payment is £2,240.
  • The pharmacy achieves 75 points, so a reconciliation payment of £2,560 is made, bringing the total paid for 2019/20 to £4,800.

Pharmacy D

Points claimed in 2018/19 H1 50
Points claimed in 2018/19 H2 100
2018/19 average points 75
Maximum Aspiration points which can be paid 52.5
Points intending to achieve in 2019/20 PQS 100
Aspiration payment £3,360
Points achieved at Feb 2020 declaration 100
Reconciliation payment £3,040
Total 2019/20 payment £6,400
  • The pharmacy achieved an average points tally of 75 in 2018/19. They intend to achieve 100 points in 2019/20, but the maximum points they can be paid for as the Aspiration payment is 52.5 points (75 x 70% = 52.5). Therefore, the Aspiration payment is £3,360.
  • The pharmacy achieves 100 points, so a reconciliation payment of £3,040 is made, bringing the total paid for 2019/20 to £6,400.

Pharmacy E

Points claimed in 2018/19 H1 75
Points claimed in 2018/19 H2 25
2018/19 average points 50
Maximum Aspiration points which can be paid 35
Points intending to achieve in 2019/20 PQS 15
Aspiration payment £960
Points achieved at Feb 2020 declaration 50
Reconciliation payment £2,240
Total 2019/20 payment £3,200
  • The pharmacy achieved an average points tally of 50 in 2018/19. The maximum they could receive as an Aspiration payment is therefore 35 points worth (50 x 70% = 35). However, since they declare that they only intend to achieve 15 points in 2019/20, they receive an Aspiration payment of £960.
  • The pharmacy actually achieves 50 points, so a reconciliation payment of £2,240 is made, bringing the total paid for 2019/20 to £3,200.

Pharmacy F

Points claimed in 2018/19 H1 50
Points claimed in 2018/19 H2 75
2018/19 average points 62.5
Maximum Aspiration points which can be paid 43.75
Points intending to achieve in 2019/20 PQS 60
Aspiration payment £2,800
Points achieved at Feb 2020 declaration 40
Reconciliation payment -£240
Total 2019/20 payment £2,560
  • The pharmacy achieved an average points tally of 62.5 points in 2018/19. They intend to achieve 60 points in 2019/20, however the maximum they could receive as an Aspiration payment is 43.75 points worth (62.5 x 70% = 43.75). Therefore, the Aspiration payment is £2,800.
  • The pharmacy achieves 40 points in 2019/20, meaning they achieved less than they were paid for in the Aspiration payment. A reconciliation deduction of -£240 is therefore made, bringing the total paid for 2019/20 to £2,560.

Pharmacy G

Points claimed in 2018/19 H1 90
Points claimed in 2018/19 H2 100
2018/19 average points 95
Maximum Aspiration points which can be paid 66.5
Points intending to achieve in 2019/20 PQS 85
Aspiration payment £4,256
Points achieved at Feb 2020 declaration 55
Reconciliation payment -£736
Total 2019/20 payment £3,520
  • The pharmacy achieved an average points tally of 95 points in 2018/19. They intend to achieve 85 points in 2019/20. The maximum they can receive as an Aspiration payment is 66.5 points worth (95 x 70% = 66.5). Therefore, the Aspiration payment is £4,256.
  • The pharmacy achieves 55 points in 2019/20, meaning they achieved less than they were paid for in the Aspiration payment. A reconciliation deduction of -£736 is therefore made, bringing the total paid for 2019/20 to £3,520.

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