PQS 2020/21 Part 2

PQS 2020/21 Part 2

Part 2 of the 2020/21 PQS scheme, formally commences on 1st October 2020, but contractors can start work on the domains they wish to undertake as soon as they wish. This second part also focuses on the response to and the recovery from the pandemic. As we settle towards a new normal where COVID-19 remains in circulation, the PQS has been developed to incentivise quality improvement in areas that support the COVID-19 response by including criteria that improve patient safety and outcomes.

The full details were first published in the September 2020 Drug Tariff, but PSNC published an early view of the requirements, to support early contractor engagement with the scheme on 6th August 2020.

The remainder of the £75m PQS annual budget (£56.25m plus any unclaimed funding from the £18.75m attributed to PQS Part 1) will be applied to this scheme.

Completion of and claiming for the Part 1 scheme is a Gateway requirement for the Part 2 scheme.

The Part 2 scheme includes an Aspiration payment, which will be made to contractors to support cash flow. The Aspiration payment is optional for pharmacy contractors and not claiming it will not impact on the pharmacy contractor’s ability to claim payment for the PQS 2020/21 Part 2. For further information, refer to the Aspiration Payment subheading below.

There are five domains each with its own component criteria to achieve; all criteria in a domain must be completed to be able to claim a payment for that domain.


Click on a heading below for more information.

Guidance and resources

NHS England and NHS Improvement guidance on the Part 2 PQS

PSNC introductory digital guide to the Part 2 scheme

CPPE PQS webpage

PCN guidance and resources
Guidance and resources to support LPCs and community pharmacy teams to get involved in Primary Care Networks (PCNs), including undertaking the requirements of the PCN Domains in the Part 2 Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS) 2020/21.

Templates

Training record sheet (Microsoft Word) to capture staff that have completed training.

Training record sheet (PDF)

Action plan template (Microsoft Word) to support the creation of any action plans required to meet the requirements of any PQS criteria.

Action plan template (PDF)

Gateway criterion

To qualify for a PQS Part 2 payment, contractors will have to complete all the requirements within the PQS Part 1 Essential Criteria Checklist and then submit a declaration on the Manage Your Service (MYS) portal by 23:59 on 29th January 2021.

Find out more about the PQS 2020/21 Part 1 scheme

Contractors meeting the gateway criterion will only receive a payment if they meet the requirements of one or more of the domains listed below.

Introduction to the Quality criteria

Contractors meeting the gateway criteria on the day of the declaration (which must be made between 1st and 26th February 2021) will receive a PQS payment if they meet one or more of the domains listed below.

Contractors must meet all of the quality criteria in each domain to be eligible for a PQS payment.

The PQS payment will depend on how many of the domains the pharmacy meets, and in which band the pharmacy is placed, based its the total prescription volume in 2019/20. For further information on each quality criterion, click on the links below.

Many of the criteria in this scheme include training and related assessments being undertaken by pharmacy team members. The following terms are used in the requirements to define different types of staff:

Registered pharmacy professionals are pharmacists, provisionally registered pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and locum pharmacists.

Non-registered patient-facing pharmacy staff include all pre-registration graduates, dispensary staff, medicine counter assistants and delivery drivers.

Non-registered patient-facing pharmacy staff with a health promoting advice role include all pre-registration trainees, dispensary staff and medicine counter assistants.

Staff with a patient-facing role include all registered pharmacy professionals, all pre-registration graduates, dispensary staff, medicine counter assistants, delivery drivers and locum pharmacists. Contractors may also have other staff that can be identified as having patient-facing roles.

Staff with a patient-facing role that provide advice on medicines or healthcare include all registered pharmacy professionals, all pre-registration graduates, dispensary staff, medicine counter assistants and locum pharmacists.

In relation to the training requirements within the various criteria, in all cases at the time of making your PQS declaration, there is a requirement to have available at the pharmacy premises, a copy of the personalised certificate provided upon completion of the training and assessment, as evidence that all relevant members of staff have completed the training.

The scheme also makes provision for circumstances where the pharmacy has a change in staff members close to the point of declaration, which impacts on their ability to meet some of the requirements:

Where new staff who have recently joined the pharmacy or staff returning from long term leave, for example maternity leave, have not undertaken the training and assessment by the day of the declaration, the pharmacy contractor can count them as having completed the training and assessment, if the pharmacy contractor has a training plan in place to ensure that these staff complete the training and assessment within 30 days of the day of the declaration. This training plan and demonstrable evidence of completion of training and assessment, within 30 days of the day of the declaration, must be retained at the pharmacy to demonstrate that the pharmacy contractor has met this quality criterion.

Domain 1 - Infection Prevention & Control and AMS

To minimise nosocomial infections in the NHS, several measures need to be adopted. These include the use of non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as social distancing, as well as ongoing, consistent implementation of national infection prevention and control guidance. Such measures are paramount in reducing the transmission of COVID-19 as well as all healthcare associated infections.

Antibiotic resistance is one of the most significant threats to patients’ safety worldwide and is driven by overusing antibiotics and prescribing them inappropriately. Infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria increase levels of disease and death, as well as the length of time people stay in hospitals. As resistance grows, it will become more difficult to treat infection, and this affects patient care and increases patient mortality rates.

Contractors must meet both quality criteria listed below in the Infection Prevention and Control and Antimicrobial Stewardship Domain to be able to claim payment for this domain.

Infection Prevention and Control criterion

The aim of this criterion is to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 within community pharmacies and potential harm caused by the pandemic by increasing awareness and implementing actions following training to improve infection prevention and control practices.

The requirements of this criterion are, on the day of the declaration:

  1. All non-registered pharmacy staff working at the pharmacy must have satisfactorily completed the HEE infection prevention and control Level 1 e-learning and assessment; AND
  2. All registered pharmacy professionals must have satisfactorily completed the HEE Infection Prevention and Control Level 2 e-learning and assessment; AND
  3. Following the completion of the training, all of the pharmacy team working at the pharmacy must have completed a team review documenting the reflections and actions following the training, and amending standard operating procedures (SOPs) and associated guidance, where appropriate.

When making the declaration on the MYS portal, contractors will be required to submit:

  • the total number of non-registered staff who have satisfactorily completed the Level 1 e-learning and assessment;
  • the total number of registered staff who have satisfactorily completed the Level 2 e-learning and assessment; and
  • a declaration that they have completed the team review.

Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) criterion

The aim of this criterion is to reduce the potential harm caused by antimicrobial resistance (AMR) through the promotion of antimicrobial stewardship activity in community pharmacy.

The requirements of this criterion are, on the day of the declaration:

  1. All patient-facing pharmacy staff that provide advice on medicines or healthcare must have satisfactorily completed the PHE Antimicrobial Stewardship for Community Pharmacy e-learning and e-assessment; AND
  2. Contractors must have available, at premises level, an antimicrobial stewardship action plan for the pharmacy, which details how they will promote AMS. The action plan must include details of how all pharmacy staff involved in the provision of self-care advice will incorporate the principles of AMS into self-care advice, including reinforcing the messages around appropriate use of antibiotics, and the uptake of vaccinations, including the flu vaccine. There must be documented evidence, at the pharmacy, that the actions within the plan have been implemented by the day of the declaration; AND
  3. All patient facing staff that provide health advice, should have become Antibiotic Guardians, if they have not already done so, and have an awareness of the local antibiotic formulary.

When making the declaration on the MYS portal, contractors will be required to submit:

  • the total number of staff who have satisfactorily completed the training and assessment;
  • a declaration they have completed an antimicrobial stewardship action plan for the pharmacy; and
  • a declaration that all patient facing staff that provide health advice, have become antibiotic guardians and have an awareness of the local antibiotic formulary.

Domain 2 - Prevention

The COVID-19 pandemic has identified risk factors and inequalities that have resulted in poorer patient outcomes for those who have contracted the disease. There is therefore renewed focus on tackling modifiable risk factors such as obesity as well as mental health.

Contractors must meet all three quality criteria listed below in the Prevention Domain to be able to claim payment for this domain.

Suicide awareness and action plan

The aim of this criterion is to contribute towards prevention of suicide by enabling all community pharmacy patient facing staff to appropriately discuss suicide with anyone who either raises that they are having suicidal thoughts, or is displaying behaviours that prompt pharmacy staff to start a conversation on this matter.

The requirements of this criterion are, on the day of the declaration:

  1. All* patient-facing staff working at the pharmacy must have completed the Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA) training; AND
  2. Contractors must have available, at premises level, an action plan prepared or updated which includes the action to take if anyone reports to staff that they have suicidal feelings. The action plan must include making some demonstrable recorded changes such as compiling resources to provide to patients. All actions outlined in the action plan must be demonstrably completed by the day of the declaration. A template to support contractors create an action plan is available in the PQS guidance and resources section.
    Where pharmacy contractors already have an action plan in place created prior to this year’s PQS, contractors are required to document any changes that had been made to help support people who are having suicidal feelings and to retain a record of this as evidence of having met the requirement. Any previous action plan must be reviewed to ensure that any information provided to patients remains up to date.

*Staff members, who have been affected by suicide and do not wish to undertake the ZSA training, are exempt from completing it.

When making the declaration on the MYS portal, contractors will be required to submit:

  • the total number of staff who have satisfactorily completed the training;
  • the total number of staff that have not completed the training under the above exemption; and
  • a declaration they have completed, or updated, a team action plan.

Sugar sweetened beverages

The aim of this quality criterion is to support community pharmacies in creating an environment conducive to healthy living and to align with the NHS standard contract requirements in helping both staff and the public avoid sugar sweetened beverages.  This quality criterion builds on the training on Children’s oral health, which was introduced, in the 2018/19 Quality Pharmacy Scheme and supports the aims of the weight management criterion in this scheme.

Sugar-Sweetened Beverage are defined as any drink, hot or cold, carbonated or non-carbonated, including milk based drinks and milk substitute drinks such as soya, almond, hemp, oat, hazelnut or rice, which contains more than 20kcal/100ml energy (i.e. is not ‘low energy (calorie)’) and also has had any sugar added to it as an ingredient (i.e. is not ‘no added sugar’).  Products sweetened with a combination of artificial/natural sweeteners and sugars would, if they contain more than 20kcal/100ml energy (i.e. are not ‘low energy (calorie)’), fall within this definition.  For the purposes of this definition, added sugars:

  1. include sugars added to pre-packaged drinks or added to made-to-order drinks (including sugar syrup, hot chocolate powder, sweetened milk alternatives and whipped cream);
  2. do not include sugars naturally occurring in fruit juices, vegetable juices and smoothies;
  3. do not include sugars naturally occurring in milk; and
  4. do not include sugar added by the customer after the point of sale.

This definition can be found on page 78 of the NHS Standard Contract 2020/21 General Conditions (full length).

The requirement of this criterion is, on the day of the declaration:

  • sales by the pharmacy (the registered pharmacy premises) of Sugar Sweetened Beverages must account for no more than 10% by volume in litres of all beverages sold.

When making the declaration on the MYS portal, contractors will be required to submit:

  • a declaration regarding whether or not the pharmacy sells sugar-sweetened beverages; and
  • a declaration that sugar sweetened beverages, if sold by the pharmacy, account for 10% or less of all beverages sold.

Weight management

The aim of this criterion is to prevent ill health by raising awareness with pharmacy service users of the impact of weight and waist circumference on health and the relevance of body mass index (BMI) to their overall health and wellbeing.

Obesity and poor diet are linked with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and increased risk of respiratory, musculoskeletal and liver disease. During the COVID-19 pandemic, evidence has emerged that obese individuals are more likely to have poorer outcomes when infected with the virus.

Research has shown that brief, opportunistic interventions delivered in primary care can result in a five-fold increase in the proportion of patients engaging in weight management services. Simple advice from a healthcare professional to lose weight increases patients’ intentions to lose weight. Further, referring people to weight management services can more than double the amount of weight they lose.

The requirements of this criterion are, on the day of the declaration:

  1. All non-registered patient-facing pharmacy staff that provide health promoting advice must have completed the PHE All Our Health bitesize training and assessments on Adult Obesity and Childhood Obesity to gain a broader understanding of the causes and effects of obesity. It is recommended that a registered pharmacy professional within the team completes the bitesize training to aid the non-registered patient-facing pharmacy staff in completing the training; AND
  2. 80% of registered pharmacy professionals working at the pharmacy must have satisfactorily completed sections 1 and 3 of the ‘CPPE Weight management for adults: understanding the management of obesity training’ and assessment, available on the CPPE website; AND
  3. Pharmacy teams are also required to have completed an action plan of how they would proactively engage with people to discuss weight and assist a person who would like support with their weight. The action plan must include, but should not be limited to, a list of local support or physical activity groups that the person could be referred to and support materials/tools they could use, e.g. materials such as One You and Change4Life, available on the NHS website, and the Chief Medical Officer’s guidance on physical activity.
    Pharmacy teams are encouraged to review the Public Health England Let’s Talk About Weight infographic and the Let’s talk about weight: a step-by-step guide to brief interventions with adults for health and care professionals guidance for support with initiating and managing conversations with people about weight management. A template to support contractors create an action plan is available in the PQS guidance and resources section.
    If a person that would like support with their weight is identified, a competent individual within the pharmacy (e.g. registered pharmacy professional or nominated team member/qualified health champion) must guide the person on how to measure their Body Mass Index (BMI), using an appropriate BMI calculator such as the NHS healthy weight calculator and advise them on how to measure their waist circumference. The advice to the person should include explaining the purpose of measuring BMI and waist circumference. Pharmacy teams must be able to calculate BMI from measurements given to them by individuals seeking support with their weight, and support those who wish to lose weight with advice and referral to other sources of support, where appropriate. The above advice could be provided in the pharmacy or via remote means, such as video consultations, where that is appropriate for the requirements of the individual; AND
  4. On the day of the declaration, the pharmacy team has recorded, over a period of 4 consecutive weeks, the total number of people who:
    1. had a conversation with a trained member of the pharmacy team about the benefits of achieving a healthy BMI and who have been shown how to self-measure and calculate their BMI and self-measure their waist circumference; and
    2. were referred to other services for weight management support, e.g. physical activity.

When making the declaration on the MYS portal, contractors will be required to submit:

  • the total number of non-registered, patient facing pharmacy staff that have satisfactorily completed the PHE All Our Health: bitesize training and assessments on Adult Obesity and Childhood Obesity;
  • the total number of registered professionals that have satisfactorily completed sections 1 and 3 of the CPPE Weight management for adults: understanding the management of obesity training and assessment;
  • a declaration that they have completed a weight management action plan on how they would assist a person who would like support with their weight;
  • the total number of people who had a conversation, over a period of 4 consecutive weeks, with a trained member of the pharmacy team about the benefits of achieving a healthy BMI and who have been shown how to self-measure and calculate their BMI and self-measure their waist circumference; and
  • the total number of people referred to other services for weight management support, e.g. physical activity.

Domain 3 - Risk management

The Risk Management domain links to the NHS priorities to continuously improve patient safety as outlined in the NHS England & NHS Improvement Patient Safety Strategy and supports contractors to build and reflect on the work undertaken in previous years.

A new requirement to manage the risk of missing red flag symptoms during over the counter (OTC) consultations has been added to this scheme and it is particularly important during the pandemic when pharmacy teams may see patients with symptoms who are avoiding visiting a GP or hospital.

The aim of this criterion is to ensure that all pharmacy professionals understand the risks associated with their professional practice (specifically focusing on the risks of missing signs of sepsis or missing red flag symptoms) and understand how to review, assess, prioritise and mitigate against risks in their workplace.

The requirements of this criterion are, on the day of the declaration:

  1. 80% of all registered pharmacy professionals working at the pharmacy must have satisfactorily completed the CPPE risk management training and e-assessment. If the training and assessment were satisfactorily completed between 1st April 2018 and 31st March 2020, this does not need to be repeated in 2020/21; AND
  2. The pharmacy must have available, at premises level, a new risk review or an update of the previous risk review undertaken as part of the PQS 2019/20. This new or updated review must include a recorded reflection on the risk of missing sepsis identification and the risk minimisation actions that the pharmacy team has been taking and any subsequent actions identified as a result of the reflection.
    The risk review should also include the risk of missing red flag symptoms during OTC consultations and contractors should record demonstrable risk minimisation actions that have been undertaken to mitigate this risk.
    These actions may include, reviewing staff training records, observing over the counter advice being provided to patients, identifying any gaps in knowledge or capability for pharmacy team members, conducting a team discussion focusing on identifying common danger signs and symptoms and knowing how to manage these, including when to refer patients.

Pharmacy contractors that DID NOT complete the risk review as part of the Risk management and safety domain for the PQS 2019/20, who wish to claim for this domain must, in addition to the above requirements, must ensure on the day of the declaration:

  1. 80% of all registered pharmacy professionals working in the pharmacy have satisfactorily completed the CPPE sepsis online training and assessment and must be able to demonstrate that they can apply the learning to respond in a safe and appropriate way when it is suspected that someone has sepsis; AND
  2. They must have demonstrable evidence that all patient-facing staff have understood the alert symptoms to ensure referral of suspected sepsis to a pharmacist.

When making the declaration on the MYS portal, contractors who did complete a risk review as part of the Risk management and safety domain for the 2019/20 PQS will be required to submit:

  • the total number of registered pharmacy professionals working at the pharmacy who have satisfactorily completed CPPE Risk management training and e-assessment;
  • a declaration that they have updated a risk review on the risk of missing sepsis identification and have recorded demonstrable risk minimisation actions that have been undertaken to mitigate this risk; and
  • a declaration that they have completed a new risk review on the risk of missing red flag symptoms during over the counter consultations and have recorded demonstrable risk minimisation actions that have been undertaken to mitigate this risk.

Contractors who did not complete a risk review as part of the Risk management and safety domain for the PQS 2019/20, when making the declaration on the MYS portal, contractors will be required to submit:

  • the total number of registered pharmacy professionals working at the pharmacy who have satisfactorily completed CPPE Risk management training and e-assessment;
  • the total number of registered pharmacy professionals working at the pharmacy who have satisfactorily completed CPPE sepsis online training and e-assessment;
  • a declaration that they have completed a new risk review on the risk of missing sepsis identification and have recorded demonstrable risk minimisation actions that have been undertaken to mitigate this risk; and
  • a declaration that they have completed a new risk review on the risk of missing red flag symptoms during over the counter consultations and have recorded demonstrable risk minimisation actions that have been undertaken to mitigate this risk.

Risk review templates (Word)

Risk review templates (PDF)

Domain 4 - Primary Care Network - Prevention

Primary Care Networks (PCNs) are a key part of the NHS Long Term Plan, with general practices being a part of a network, typically covering 30,000-50,000 patients.

It is important that community pharmacy teams are fully involved in the work of their PCN to achieve and deliver on the health programmes such as the national flu immunisation programme plan.

The aim of this domain is to reduce the risk of harm from the influenza virus for all patients aged 65 and over and to reduce pressure on the NHS during winter, by incentivising community pharmacy and general practice through the PQS and the Impact and Investment Fund (IIF) respectively, to work collaboratively to increase the number of eligible people vaccinated.

Community pharmacy and general practice teams have been delivering flu vaccination services for a number of years and, in some places, the approach is more competitive than collaborative. By incentivising both primary care providers similarly, NHSE&I want to facilitate a collaborative approach in a PCN leading to an increase in uptake of flu vaccinations in the eligible population.

The requirements of this criterion are, on the day of the declaration:

  1. In 2020/21, but prior to the day of the declaration, the contractor must have engaged with the Pharmacy PCN Lead to communicate that they would like to be involved in increasing the uptake of flu vaccination to patients aged 65 and over.
    To increase the uptake of flu vaccination to patients aged 65 and over and to drive quality improvement in service delivery, the Pharmacy PCN Lead must:
  • engage with all the community pharmacies in the PCN that wish to be involved, to agree how they will collaborate with each other and discuss how they could collaborate with general practice colleagues; and
  • engage with the PCN Clinical Director to agree how community pharmacies in the PCN will collaborate with general practices.

AND

  1. The pharmacy contractor must have demonstrably contributed to the PCN achieving at or above a specified percentage, for flu vaccination patients aged 65 and over. This can be evidenced by the number of vaccines they have administered to eligible patients between 1st September 2020 and 31st January 2021, with this number being one or greater. Points will be allocated in accordance with the following linear sliding scale:
Band 1 Band 2 Band 3 Band 4 Band 5 Band 6
Point per 0.1 percentage point increase between 70.1% and 77%              0.0107              0.0750              0.1607              0.2143              0.3214              0.3750

Data on the percentage of target population vaccinated by the PCN will not be available until after the day of the declaration. Therefore, contractors who wish to claim for this domain must declare on the day of the declaration that they have demonstrably contributed to the PCN delivery of flu vaccinations to the target population, as stated above.

Based on this declaration, contractors will be allocated the maximum number of points available for a pharmacy in their band for this domain. There will be a reconciliation of the payment made to contractors for this domain on 1st June 2021 when final data on the increase to the uptake of flu vaccination to patients aged 65 and over will be available. This reconciliation will be made as part of the Aspiration payment contractors receive for the 2021/22 PQS, for those choosing to make this declaration; and will be reconciled as part of the routine schedule of payments for those contractors who do not make an aspiration declaration in 2021/22.

If the PCN wishes to challenge the data underpinning the points allocation, they will be able to do so, however, this will delay the reconciliation payment.

When making the declaration on the MYS portal, non-Pharmacy PCN Lead contractors will be required to submit:

  • a declaration that the contractor has engaged with the Pharmacy PCN Lead and agreed to be involved in increasing the uptake of flu vaccinations to patients aged 65 and over by the provision of flu vaccinations;
  • the total number of eligible people aged 65 and over, including those becoming age 65 by 31st March 2021, vaccinated by the contractor between 1st September 2020 and 31st January 2021;
  • the name of the PCN to which they have aligned;
  • the appointed Pharmacy PCN Lead for the PCN; and
  • the pharmacy name and ODS code for the Pharmacy PCN Lead.

When making the declaration on the MYS portal, contractors where the Pharmacy PCN Lead is based will be required to submit:

  • A declaration that the Pharmacy PCN Lead has engaged with the PCN Clinical Director to agree how community pharmacies in the PCN will collaborate with general practices to increase the uptake of flu vaccinations to patients aged 65 and over;
  • the total number of eligible people aged 65 and over, including those becoming age 65 by 31st March 2021, vaccinated by the contractor between 1st September 2020 and 31st January 2021;
  • the ODS codes of the pharmacies who have engaged in the process for increasing the uptake of flu vaccination to patients aged 65 and over;
  • a declaration that they are the appointed Pharmacy PCN Lead for that PCN;
  • the name of the PCN; and
  • a declaration that the Pharmacy PCN lead has notified the Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC) in which the PCN lies that they are the appointed pharmacy Lead for the named PCN.

Domain 5 - Primary Care Network - Business continuity

The aim of this domain is to encourage pharmacy teams to work collaboratively with other primary care providers to maintain business continuity across the PCN following the temporary closure of individual pharmacies or general practices to minimise the impact on patient care.

This domain builds on the business continuity elements included in the PQS 2020/21 Part 1, by recognising the impact that the temporary closure of an individual pharmacy or general practice can have on the other pharmacies and general practices within a PCN, and the need for this impact to be considered in the individual contractor’s business continuity plan.

The requirements of this criterion are, on the day of the declaration:

  1. All contractors in a PCN that wish to complete the requirements of this domain, must have participated in a discussion, organised by the Pharmacy PCN lead, regarding business continuity planning, as described below.

The Pharmacy PCN Lead must:

  • Facilitate discussions between pharmacy contractors that wish to complete the requirements of this domain, with the aim of ensuring all participating contractors understand the high-level business continuity plans each pharmacy contractor has in place should they need to temporarily close the pharmacy and can adopt a collaborative approach to support those plans, where appropriate and necessary. The discussion must similarly include, where available, the sharing of information on the plans of general practices within the PCN, should they need to temporarily close (see the following point). All these discussions, and the resultant improved understanding of all participating contractors regarding local business continuity planning, should help the smooth enactment of individual business continuity plans across the PCN, should the need arise; AND
  • Liaise with the PCN Clinical Director (or their appointed lead), and other relevant individuals, to gain an understanding of the business continuity plans for the general practices within the PCN, should one or more have to close or be severely compromised in the services it can provide. Appropriate details of the high-level business continuity plans for the general practices should be shared with the pharmacies in the PCN, so that in the event that a general practice needs to temporarily close, pharmacy contractors can adopt a collaborative approach to support the plans of the general practice, where appropriate and necessary; AND
  • Collate the following information from each participating contractor and share this with all the contractors within the PCN, the PCN Clinical Director, the Local Pharmaceutical Committee and the NHSE&I regional team: contractor contact details for use in an emergency, the names of the pharmacies and general practices that are most likely to be significantly impacted by a temporary closure of each pharmacy (as a result of patient flows) and the high-level details of any arrangements that have been put in place with them which will be activated in the case of the contractor needing to temporarily close their pharmacy.

AND

  1. The contractor must have demonstrable evidence, at the pharmacy, that the discussions and contractor actions described above were completed and, where necessary, updates have been made to the pharmacy business continuity plan, to reflect the collaborative work required in the event of closures.
    In addition, the Pharmacy PCN Lead must have demonstrable evidence of having undertaken the tasks described above.

When making the declaration on the MYS portal, non-Pharmacy PCN Lead contractors will be required to submit:

  • a declaration that they have participated in a group business continuity discussion with the Pharmacy PCN Lead and other contractors in the PCN and any actions identified have been demonstrably completed by the day of the declaration;
  • the name of the PCN to which they have aligned;
  • their appointed Pharmacy PCN Lead; and
  • the pharmacy name and ODS code for the Pharmacy PCN Lead.

When making the declaration on the MYS portal, contractors where the Pharmacy PCN Lead is based will be required to submit:

  • a declaration that they have facilitated the organisation of the group business continuity discussion, for all contractors in the PCN who wish to take part in the business continuity discussions;
  • the ODS codes of the pharmacies who have taken part in your business continuity discussion;
  • a declaration that they are the appointed Pharmacy Lead for that PCN;
  • the name of the PCN; and
  • a declaration that the Pharmacy PCN Lead has notified the LPC in which the PCN lies that they are the appointed pharmacy Lead for the named PCN.

Funding for the scheme

Total funding for the scheme is a minimum of £56.25m, with any unused funding from the Part 1 scheme also being added to the total.

A new approach to allocating the funding is being introduced in this scheme, with each domain having points allocated to it, but these vary dependent on the prescription volume of the contractor.

This change has been introduced to better recognise the varying workload and hence costs incurred by different contractors complying with the requirements of the scheme. While some costs will be common to contractors of all sizes, most of the elements of this new scheme involve variability of costs related to the number of staff employed at the pharmacy and staffing levels generally vary in relation to prescription volume.

How the new system works

Each PQS domain has a varying number of points dependent on the participating contractor’s total prescription volume in 2019/20; each contractor is placed in one of the six volume bands set out in the tables below, based on their 2019/20 prescription volume.

So that contractors can be sure of which volume band they sit within the scheme, the NHSBSA has published their allocation of contractors to the bands.

Check which band your pharmacy falls within

Additional points are also available to contractors who act as the Primary Care Network (PCN) Lead in either of the two PCN domains; these points do not vary with the total prescription volume of the contractor.

The funding will be divided between qualifying pharmacies based on the number of points they have achieved up to a maximum £96 per point. Each point will have a minimum value of £48, based on all pharmacy contractors achieving maximum points.

Payments will be made to eligible contractors depending on the band they are placed in, how many domains they have declared they are meeting, and hence points claimed.

Further details on the funding can be found in the September 2020 Drug Tariff.

Aspiration payment

If contractors wish, they can claim an Aspiration payment for this scheme, to assist with cash flow. The Aspiration payment must be claimed between 09:00 on 14th September 2020 and 23:59 on 9th October 2020 through MYS portal.

Any Aspiration payments claimed during the above time period will be paid to contractors on 30th October 2020.

The aspiration payment is optional for pharmacy contractors and not claiming it will not impact on the pharmacy contractor’s ability to claim a payment for the PQS 2020/21 Part 2.

There is no requirement to have claimed for a previous PQS to claim an aspiration payment for PQS 2020/21 Part 2.

Once contractors have reviewed the requirements of the PQS 2020/21 Part 2, they will need to decide which domains they intend to meet at the February 2021 declaration period, when they make their Aspiration declaration.

The maximum number of points for which a pharmacy can be paid an Aspiration payment is 70% of the number of points within the band they are placed in (note that the maximum number of points is different for Pharmacy PCN Leads and non PCN Leads). The value of the point for the aspiration payment is set at £48 (i.e. the minimum value of a point for the PQS 2020/21 Part 2).

The Aspiration payment will be initially reconciled with payment for the PQS 2020/21 Part 2 on 1 April 2021. Part VIIA of the Drug Tariff has worked examples demonstrating how these payments will be made.

The PQS declaration (making a claim)

The main payment declaration for the PQS must be submitted online via the MYS portal.

The PQS must be claimed for between 09:00 on 1st February 2021 and 23:59 on 26th February 2021. Contractors will be paid as part of the overall payment made by the NHSBSA to contractors on 1st April 2021.

No PQS declaration submissions will be accepted after 23:59 on 26th February 2021. Contractors are advised to complete their submissions early in the declaration window to ensure that they meet the specified declaration timescales.

MYS allows a contractor to start their declaration and then return to it later should this be necessary. Where a declaration has been started but not submitted, it will not be eligible for payment.

Once a contractor has completed and submitted their online declaration via MYS it cannot be altered or returned to the contractor for amendment and re-submission, even if the declaration is made prior to the declaration window closing.

For the PQS Part 2 declaration, contractors will be required to confirm in their declaration that they have the evidence that they meet any quality criteria that they are claiming for on the day of their declaration. The evidence of meeting the requirements of each domain should be retained for two years as it may be required for post-payment verification purposes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the link below to visit the Part 2 PQS scheme FAQ page:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

Return to the PQS Hub page



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