The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) is reminding contractors who have not completed their NHS Choices profile that they have until 10 September to do so in order to meet quality payments scheme criteria.

Contractors must have an NHS Choices profile in order to qualify for the Quality Payments Scheme. This scheme is part of the community pharmacy reforms revealed by the government in October 2016, and reward pharmacies for delivering certain gateway and quality criteria.

The first review point for the Scheme was at the end of April, at which point contractors should have ensured that their pharmacy’s NHS Choices entry for the pharmacy was up to date to meet the criteria.

The NHS Choices page needs to list opening hours, the facilities the pharmacy provides (e.g. consulting room, parking), and the services the pharmacy provides. This criterion must be complied with before pharmacies can receive any quality payment.

Risk of reclaiming payments

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) sent out an email to contractors who only partly edited or validated their NHS Choices profile on 10 August. This applies to any contractors who di not edit or validate all three of the profile sections.

The email explained that completing the NHS Choices profile ‘ensures that patients and the public can access all the information they need about your pharmacy’ and provided step-by-step instructions on how to meet the criterion.

It added: ‘if you do not act there is a risk that you will have failed to meet the gateway criteria and therefore NHS England may take further action including reclaiming payments’.

If you received this email, you have just two weeks (until the 10th of September) to edit/validate all sections. The NHS BSA warns that contractors who fail to do so will not meet the gateway criterion and may risk losing their April quality payment.

No second chance

The Authority says contractors will not be given a second chance to edit their NHS Choices profile following the upcoming November review point, making it ‘imperative’ that pharmacies edit/validate their profile before this time.

Contractors who do not update all three sections by 24 November will be deemed not to have met the gateway criteria and thus will not receive any quality payments.

All contractors are advised to check their spam folder for the email. The requirements also apply to distance selling pharmacies.

Instructions for meeting the criterion can be found on the PSNC website.

The other gateway criteria necessary to collect quality payments are: provision of at least one Advanced Service, having the ability to send and receive NHS mail, and ongoing use of the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS).

NHS England has issued guidance on the criteria here.