Pharmacy Quality Scheme – Valproate safety audit

Pharmacy Quality Scheme – Valproate safety audit

Community pharmacy contractors passing the gateway criteria will receive a payment for the Pharmacy Quality Scheme if they meet one or more of the domains. The medicines safety audits complementing QOF QI bundle consists of three quality criteria, one of which is that on the day of their declaration (which must be done between 3rd February 2020 and 28th February 2020):

‘On the day of the declaration, the pharmacy must have completed a valproate safety audit, over three consecutive months for all girls and women of childbearing potential who have had valproate dispensed from the pharmacy. Further details of the audit and the details to be recorded can be found in the NHS England & NHS Improvement Pharmacy Quality Scheme 2019/20 guidance available at’ 

Click on a heading below for more information.

NHS England and NHS Improvement guidance

How to achieve this quality criterion (includes PSNC resources)

Contractors must have started the valproate audit by 29th November 2019 at the very latest, to be able to meet the requirement to complete the audit over a consecutive three-month period. However, contractors are strongly encouraged to start the audit well before this date to reduce the risk of missing this deadline and allow themselves more flexibility on the date on when they make their PQS declaration. If a contractor does not start their audit until the pharmacy opens on 29th November 2019, they will not complete their audit until 28th February 2020, which is the final day for making a PQS declaration.

Briefing 052/19: Pharmacy Quality Scheme – Valproate quality criterion

PSNC has published Briefing 052/19: Pharmacy Quality Scheme – Valproate audit quality criterion, which provides contractors with a flow chart on how to meet the quality criterion.

Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group – Patient safety quality criteria guidance

The Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group has published guidance on meeting the patient safety quality criteria of the PQS, which includes information on the valproate audit.

Recording patient data

Contractors can choose to collect the patient data for the audit by using the NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) valproate audit data collection table (available as Annex 10 in the NHSE&I PQS guidance) or on PharmOutcomes.*

NHSE&I valproate data collection table

If contractors would prefer to use the NHSE&I valproate data collection table, PSNC has made this available as a standalone document:

Valproate audit data collection table (PDF) 

PSNC has also created a template GP referral form that contractors can choose to use if they need to refer a patient of childbearing potential on valproate to their GP:

Valproate GP referral form (Word)

Valproate GP referral form (PDF)


If contractors decide to use PharmOutcomes, additional patient information will need to be collected (which is not required on the NHSE&I valproate audit data collection table). Therefore, contractors are advised to either enter the data directly onto PharmOutcomes or use thePharmOutcomes data collection form for collecting patient information:

Valproate PharmOutcomes patient data collection form (PDF)

The above form can also be printed when you access the valproate audit on PharmOutcomes.

An automatic GP referral form can be sent via PharmOutcomes if contractors need to refer a patient of childbearing potential on valproate to their GP.

*The valproate audit on PharmOutcomes is freely available to all contractors; PSNC has agreed to use their licence to provide access. 

Additional resources

A joint valproate safety resource, is available which support pharmacy teams in helping women and girls who have been prescribed valproate medicines. The resource includes a decision pathway and key points for consideration to prompt conversations between the pharmacy team and their patients.


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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