The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has 'strongly encouraged' pharmacists to read NHS England's updated Pharmacy Quality Payments Quality Criteria Guidance

The updated its instructions, published on 27 February, detail how contractors can earn payments from the Quality Payments Scheme - a points-based system whereby pharmacies can earn back money they will lose from the funding cuts by meeting certain criteria.

PSNC said: ‘As there are a number of things which have now been clarified within this guidance document, we strongly encourage all contractors to read the document in full.’

Gateway criteria

In order to qualify for the gateway criteria, a pharmacy must have:

  • Provision of at least one specified Advanced Service
  • Their NHS Choices entry up to date
  • The ability for staff to send and receive NHS mail
  • Ongoing utilisation of the Electronic Prescription Service

They must then meet one of more of the quality criteria in order to receive a Quality Payment.

The Department of Health (DH) has given each criteria a number of points based on difficulty and benefit to patients.

Contractors passing the gateway criteria will receive a Quality Payment if they meet one or more of the quality criteria. The total number of points that each contractor can qualify for in a year over the two reviews is 100.

Quality criteria

On the day of the review the pharmacy must be able to demonstrate or provide the following:

  • A written safety report at premises level
  • 80% of staff have achieved level 2 safeguarding status for children and vulnerable adults in the last two years
  • Community Pharmacy Patient Questionnaire results from the last 12 months are publicly available
  • Is a Healthy Living Pharmacy level 1
  • Total increase in access to Summary Care Records
  • NHS 111 Directory of Services entry is up to date
  • Evidence of referring asthma patients for review
  • 80% of staff working in patient facing roles are trained ‘Dementia Friends’

Applicants will be evaluated by NHS England, including through questions during the evaluation and declaration processes. The questions will be clearly identified and declaration questions will be mandatory to complete.

Completion of both the declaration and evaluations has been encouraged by NHS England to support future developments in payments for quality.

‘Contractors and their teams will need to decide how to approach achieving the gateway and quality criteria in a way that works for them; there will be no one size fits all approach,’ PSNC said.

However, it has released a suggested plan for contractors to follow.


The review points will take place on Friday 28 April 2017 and Friday 24 November 2017. The declaration period for each review point will last about a month after each.

The total fund for the scheme is £75m. The review points will be worth between £64 and £128 each depending on how many pharmacies qualify.

As it is unlikely that all pharmacies will achieve all the quality criteria across the two review points, there will be a reconciliation process, at which the remaining funding will be divided between qualifying contractors.

The reconciliation payments will not have to be claimed and will be paid with the full value of services payment for March 2018 (at the end of May 2018).