Second Quality Payments Scheme for 2018/19 announced

Announcement summary

Contractor information

PSNC, NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) have agreed to update both the gateway and quality criteria for a revised Quality Payments Scheme for the remaining six months of 2018/19.

The revised scheme will have a review point on 15th February 2019, with contractors having a four-week window throughout February in which to make their declarations.

PSNC has negotiated a correction period, so that any contractors who are found by NHS England not to have met the gateway criteria will be given time to correct this so that they can receive any Quality Payments for which they have met the requirements.

The review point has been set to allow for this period, while also giving contractors as much time as possible to meet the updated criteria within this financial year.

The negotiations on the scheme have taken place independently of any discussions on wider community pharmacy funding for 2018/19 because PSNC and NHS England wanted to give contractors as much time to prepare for the upcoming February review point as possible.

PSNC’s objectives were to ensure that all the available funding for Quality Payments would be accessible to contractors, and that any changes to the criteria would be manageable for them.

The changes went through several rounds of negotiations in which they were subject to adjustments proposed by PSNC, before they were agreed.

The changes to the Quality Payments Scheme criteria all help community pharmacy to move in the direction that the sector wants to – contributing to patient safety, clinical effectiveness and public health.

PSNC felt that it was important to signal to HM Government the sector’s ongoing willingness to work in these priority areas at this early stage in rebuilding constructive working relationships with them.

Key changes to the gateway criteria include:

  • The NHSmail criterion now requires contractors to have at least two live personal accounts linked to their shared premises NHSmail account;
  • The EPS criterion has been removed and replaced with a requirement on IT operating system and web browser compliance with the NHS Digital Warranted Environment Specification; and
  • The CPPQ quality criterion has been moved to become a gateway criterion.

The Advanced Services and the NHS.UK entry (previously known as NHS Choices) gateway criteria remain unchanged.

Key changes to the quality criteria include:

  • Removal of the safeguarding and Summary Care Records criteria;
  • New criteria on risk management and an audit on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and gastro-protection; and
  • Additional requirements to meet the written patient safety report, Healthy Living Pharmacy and asthma criteria.

The NHS 111 Directory of Services and Dementia Friends quality criteria remain unchanged.

Further information on the changes to the Scheme are contained within PSNC Briefing 051/18: A summary of the second Quality Payments Scheme 2018/19. New guidance will be issued by NHS England to provide further information and PSNC is currently reviewing the website and producing new guidance and resources, where appropriate, to assist contractors to meet the criteria of the Scheme.

Simon Dukes, PSNC Chief Executive, said:

“PSNC is pleased to have agreed these changes to the Quality Payments Scheme so that pharmacies can have the opportunity to earn all of the available funds for the scheme this year. The agreement to give pharmacies time to correct any gateway criteria that they are found not to have met, rather than simply losing out on all Quality Payments, is an important improvement.

Negotiations on pharmacy funding continue, but we hope our willingness to engage with this scheme sends a clear signal to Government that we want to help them to meet their priorities. The changes we have agreed should enable pharmacies to make important contributions in key priority areas such as patient safety and public health.”

Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services, said:

“The Quality Payments Scheme has been an important change for community pharmacies in allowing us to demonstrate how we are contributing directly to some key NHS objectives. Pharmacies have stepped up to the challenge and delivered some excellent results at the last three Quality Payment Scheme review points.

PSNC considered all of the changes to the criteria that we have agreed this time very carefully indeed, and our negotiations focused on balancing the need for any changes to be as manageable for pharmacy workloads as possible, with the need for pharmacy to help the NHS as much as it can.

Pharmacy teams should read our guidance on the criteria changes in detail, and over the coming weeks we will be adding to our set of QPS resources to help them to meet the criteria.”