Pharmacy Quality Scheme – NHS website (NHS.UK) entry

Pharmacy Quality Scheme – NHS website (NHS.UK) entry

To be eligible to collect the points necessary to claim a payment for the Pharmacy Quality Scheme, community pharmacy contractors must meet four gateway criteria, one of which  is that on the day of their declaration (which must be done between 3rd February 2020 and 28th February 2020):

‘the contractor must update its NHS website profile in respect of its opening hours (including Easter Sunday 2020 and the following public and bank holidays: Christmas Day 2019, Boxing Day 2019, New Year’s Day 2020, Good Friday 2020, Easter Monday 2020, Early May Bank Holiday 2020 and Spring Bank Holiday 2020), services and facilities and promptly update this as information changes (including Easter Sunday and public and bank holiday opening hours) to ensure the information is accurate for the public (to be eligible for the PQS 2019/2020 payment, this will have to be done between 00:00 on 1 October 2019 and 23:59 on 30 November 2019); distance selling pharmacies must send an email to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) Provider Assurance Team between 00:00 on 1 October 2019 and 23:59 on 30 November 2019 as per the NHS England and NHS Improvement Pharmacy Quality Scheme 2019/20 guidance’.

*** Please note that the window for meeting the NHS website gateway criterion has now closed. ***

Click on a heading below for more information.

NHS England and NHS Improvement guidance

The NHS website (NHS.UK)

The NHS website NHS.UK ( (formerly known as NHS Choices) was initially launched in 2007 and is the official website of the NHS in England. With over 48 million visits per month, it has become the UK’s biggest health website accounting for a quarter of all health-related web traffic.

The NHS website contains a directory of services available to patients which can be searched to identify services that are appropriate to the individual. Community pharmacies are listed on this directory and they have been able to register to self-manage the content of most of their individual NHS website profile for several years.

How to achieve this gateway criterion

To meet the gateway criterion contractors are required to edit or validate three sections of their NHS website (NHS.UK) profile between 00:00 on 1st October 2019 and 11:59pm on 30th November 2019.

*** Please note that the window for meeting the NHS website gateway criterion has now closed. ***

Contractors who have missed this deadline will not be able to make a PQS claim in February 2020.

A pharmacy must have updated all three sections of its NHS website profile between 1st October 2019 and 30th November 2019. Therefore, any contractor entering the pharmaceutical list, either as a new pharmacy or as new owners of an existing listed pharmacy, after 30th November 2019 will not be eligible to take part in the PQS 2019/20.

Contractors must update or validate the  three sections  of their pharmacy’s NHS website profile to meet the NHS website gateway criterion. Contractors must validate their profile even if their NHS website profile is correct, otherwise, they will not meet the gateway criterion and will therefore not be entitled to claim for a PQS payment.

Contractors must edit or validate:

  1. their opening hours, including the following Bank Holidays:
Wednesday 25th December 2019 Christmas Day 2019
Thursday 26th December 2019 Boxing Day 2019
Wednesday 1st January 2020 New Year’s Day 2020
Friday 10th April 2020 Good Friday 2020
Sunday 12th April 2020 Easter Sunday 2020*
Monday 13th April 2020 Easter Monday 2020
Friday 8th May 2020** Early May Bank Holiday 2020
Monday 25th May 2020 Spring Bank Holiday 2020
  1. the facilities the pharmacy provides e.g. consultation room, parking, etc.; and
  2. the services the pharmacy provides, e.g. Medicines Use Reviews (MURs), New Medicine Service (NMS), etc.

*Although Easter Sunday is not officially a bank holiday, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) has requested that contractors add their opening hours for this date to assist local NHSE&I teams and DoS leads so they know which pharmacies will be open over the Easter weekend. 

**The Early May Bank Holiday for 2020 has been changed from the usual Monday to a Friday to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

A User Guide is available on the NHS website, which provides step-by-step instructions on how to update or validate a pharmacy’s NHS website profile.

Once a contractor has updated the three sections of their NHS website profile, they are advised to visit the patient-facing page of their NHS website profile. By doing this, an additional check can be carried out to ensure the information and the dates listed on the page (which show when the sections were last updated) have changed to the date when the contractor edited and/or validated their profile. If possible, taking a screenshot of the three sections once they have been edited and/or validated would also be useful, so this information can be retained as evidence of having met the gateway criterion.

Any inaccuracies between a contractor’s NHS website profile and their contractual opening hours, facilities and the services provided are the responsibility of the contractor.

The opening hours of the pharmacy

The opening hours published on the NHS website should be the hours that the pharmacy is providing NHS pharmaceutical services, i.e. their core and supplementary hours. The NHS website supports this requirement by allowing contractors to create up to three sets of opening times per day on their profile to allow for closing at lunchtime.

Where a pharmacy has scheduled breaks for their pharmacist and so are not providing NHS pharmaceutical services but may be providing other services, e.g. sales of other products, these must not be included in their NHS website opening hours section.

Additional opening hours of non-registered areas of a store, that are not core or supplementary hours, cannot be advertised on the NHS website; however, they can be advertised in the pharmacy or locally, provided it is clear to the public that NHS pharmaceutical services are not available at these times. For example, a pharmacy opening between 09:00 to 17:00 with a lunch break for the pharmacist between 13:00 to 14:00 should set two sets of opening times as
follows: 09:00-13:00 and 14:00-17:00.

If contractors do not add Easter Sunday and public and bank holiday opening times to their profiles, the NHS website will default to normal opening hours. Therefore, if a contractor has not amended their opening hours by entering them in the ‘public holidays and other special dates’ section, they may be advertising incorrect opening hours to patients and the public and will, therefore, be non-compliant with the gateway criterion.

Services provided at the pharmacy

Contractors must update or validate their list of services which is displayed in the ‘services’ section of their NHS website profile.

Services are classified into the following three sections:

Pharmacy services Advanced Services and other services which are useful for patients to know about. Essential Services will be included on profiles in due course and these will be auto-populated onto each pharmacy profile
Pharmacy (NHS) services Services commissioned by local authorities or Clinical Commissioning Groups
Pharmacy (Non-NHS) services Patient-funded services (private services)

In addition, if contractors are intending to declare that they meet the Advanced Services gateway criterion because they offer NMS or the NHS community pharmacy seasonal influenza vaccination service, they should ensure the service is listed on the pharmacy’s NHS website profile as this will be used as one of the datasets to validate whether a contractor meets the Advanced Services gateway criterion.

Registering for profile editing rights or requesting a lost password

Each non-DSP contractor can amend or validate their NHS website profile by using the NHS website profile editor. Guidance on how to do this is provided in the Pharmacy Quality Scheme User guide. Amending or validating the NHS website profile will create a record which will act as evidence to NHSE&I that these actions have been undertaken.

To edit the NHS website profile, contractors will need to log into the NHS website profile editor system on the NHS website personalisation page. Further information on managing provider profiles can also be found on the NHS website provider management page.

Contractors who do not have editing rights to their profile will need to email the NHS website service desk

Existing web editors, who have lost their password, can reset their passwords from the NHS website using the profile editor log-in.

NHS website (NHS.UK) profile – not listed on the website

Contractors that have a pharmacy which is not listed on the NHS website (not including distance selling pharmacies) should contact their local NHSE&I team. An NHS website profile is set up following authorisation from the local team. Making the local team aware that a profile has not been set up will then initiate this process. As soon as your profile is set up you will need to follow the instructions above.

Contractors with multiple pharmacies

Contractors with multiple pharmacies will need to decide whether to complete the review of NHS website profiles at head office or pharmacy level. Each profile is specific to that pharmacy and when a profile is edited or validated, staff will need to ensure that the pharmacy details submitted are accurate for that particular pharmacy at the time of completion. Any inaccuracies that result from editing by head offices and local pharmacy teams will be the responsibility of the contractor.

Distance selling pharmacies - How to achieve this gateway criterion

Distance Selling Pharmacies (DSPs) do not, currently, have full NHS website entries; however, work is ongoing to enable full profiles from 2020. NHS Digital will populate these profiles with the information that DSPs provide to the NHSBSA Provider Assurance Team. DSPs not taking part in the PQS will need to populate their profiles in 2020 when this becomes a requirement under the terms of service.

The information that DSPs will need to provide to meet the PQS NHS website criterion is:

  1.  confirm the name of their pharmacy on the NHS website – it must be the trading name rather than the registered company name (unless the registered company name is the same as the trading name);
  2. confirm the telephone number and website URL on their profile;
  3. confirm the provision of EPS is correctly indicated on their profile;
  4. provide the opening hours for the pharmacy (including Easter Sunday 2020 and public and bank holiday opening hours for 2019/20 – see list above);
  5. list the services the pharmacy provides. Contractors making declarations to NHSBSA that they are offering either the NMS or the Influenza Vaccination service under the Advanced Service gateway criterion must ensure that these services are included so that they can be included in the pharmacy profile; and
  6. list the facilities available. This should include all the facilities available to support NHS Services e.g. consultation rooms;

A spreadsheet has been produced for the collation of the information a-f above. This is available on the NHSBSA website under ‘Distance Selling Pharmacies’ or as an annex in the NHS England and NHS Improvement guidance.

All sections of the spreadsheet or the annex (Annex 1) in the NHSE&I guidance need to be completed.

This information must be sent by email to the NHSBSA Provider Assurance Team ( between 00:00 on 1st October 2019 and 11:59pm on 30th November 2019. The email must include “PQS FEB REVIEW” and the pharmacy ODS code in the subject line. For example, a DSP contractor with an ODS code AAA001 will need to submit an email with the subject line:


Failure to add the ODS code and “PQS FEB REVIEW” in the subject line will result in the email not being recorded in the summary report of DSP contractors that have achieved this gateway criterion, which will be provided to NHSE&I. This will mean that the contractor fails the validation process which will be undertaken by the NHSBSA.

Where DSPs have informed the NHSBSA Provider Assurance Team that the information on the NHS website is correct or have provided the correct information for a previous declaration, they will still be required to email the NHSBSA Provider Assurance Team at as detailed above for the February 2020 declaration, as additional information is required (the opening hours, the services provided and the facilities
available) for this declaration.

DSP contractors can check that they are listed as a DSP pharmacy in the DSP section of the NHS website by using the internet pharmacy directory. Should any DSP contractor not be listed on the NHS website or find they are listed with a non-DSP community pharmacy profile, and not in the DSP section of the NHS website, they should email the NHS Provider Assurance Team at (including ‘UNABLE TO VERIFY PROFILE’ in the subject line) with the information in a) to f) above as a spreadsheet (available from the NHSBSA website under the ‘Distance Selling Pharmacies’ section) or using the template available in Annex 1 of the NHSE&I PQS guidance.

Once this information has been received by the NHSBSA Provider Assurance Team this will count as passing the gateway criterion. Contractors should retain a copy of the email sent as evidence of meeting this requirement.


FAQs on the Pharmacy Quality Scheme can be found on the Pharmacy Quality Scheme – FAQs page.

Return to the Pharmacy Quality Scheme hub page

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