England’s chief pharmaceutical officer has highlighted the ‘excellent response’ of community pharmacy to the first six months of the Quality Payments Scheme (QPS).

Keith Ridge said: ‘I welcome the excellent response [to the QPS] from community pharmacy so far and advise people to visit their local pharmacy this winter if they need advice and help with their medicines or to manage winter illnesses.’


The QPS financially rewards community pharmacies that achieve any number of eight quality criteria, each revolving around themes of clinical effectiveness, patient safety and patient experience.

Some of the criteria include achieving healthy living pharmacy (HLP) accreditation, identifying high-risk asthma patients and pharmacy staff affiliated becoming trained Dementia Friends.

Since April 2017, around 94% (10,985) of all 11,094 pharmacies in England have been eligible for a payment, according to information released by NHS England on Monday (2 October). This represents £31m of the £75m pot allocated to the scheme.

NHS England said that in just six months of the scheme, roughly 12,500 patients at a high risk of suffering a severe asthma attack were identified and referred for a full asthma review.

Around 70,000 pharmacy staff in patient-facing roles have become Dementia Friends, NHS England added.

Integrating pharmacy into NHS

Mr Ridge added: ‘Quality payments support the continued integration of pharmacies into the wider NHS primary and urgent care system and encourage pharmacy professionals who practice in community pharmacies to make the most of their valuable clinical skills.

The scheme is part of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework, which initially runs from 1 December 2016 to 31 March 2018.

Professor Mike Morgan, NHS England’s national clinical director for respiratory services, said: ‘Asthma is a long-term condition that requires constant review and adjustment by the patient and the health professional.

‘Serious attacks of asthma should not be treated as one-off episodes but seen as a failure of chronic care. These attacks, which may be fatal, can often be predicted by warning signs and frontline community pharmacists are in an excellent position to give potentially life-saving advice.’

New guidance for November submissions

NHS England has published new guidance for pharmacy contractors wishing to apply for top-up funding through the Quality Payments Scheme (QPS) this November.

Community pharmacies can claim their payment for the November review point on the NHS Business Services website between 13 November and 8 December.

The guidance can be accessed here.