Data issues surrounding some IT suppliers has seen ‘discrepancies’ in the number of urgent medicine consultations recorded under Pharmacy First in England, the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) has said.

It added it was doing everything it could to ensure pharmacy contractors were paid ‘appropriately, in full, and on time’.

An NHSBSA spokesperson said: ‘We’re aware that there have been discrepancies in the figures for urgent medicine consultations for a number of pharmacy contractors, due to the data we have received from IT system suppliers.

‘We are working closely with system suppliers to resolve their issue as a matter of urgency. System suppliers have notified us that they have contacted anyone affected.’

They added: ‘We, and the system supplier, will contact all affected contractors again next week to provide an update.

‘In the meantime, we can reassure all pharmacy contractors that we are doing everything we can to ensure they are paid appropriately, in full, and on time.’

The situation follows concerns raised by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), which last week warned that the Manage Your Service (MYS) portal – which is used by pharmacies for reimbursement and renumeration tasks – had been incorrectly recording the number of Pharmacy First consultations.

The NPA said on Friday that the ‘flawed’ MYS system was potentially leaving pharmacies ‘out of pocket by thousands of pounds’.

Responding to the concerns, the NHSBSA said this particular issue had been ‘resolved’ earlier in the month. It is also understood that the NHSBSA extended the deadline for pharmacy owners to make their claims for February Pharmacy First consultations on MYS until 5pm on Friday 15 March 2024.

‘We’re aware some pharmacy contractors experienced issues accessing Pharmacy First in the MYS portal on Friday 1 March 2024,’ the spokesperson said.

‘Some pharmacies had submitted their declaration using the CPCS tab in MYS in the early hours of Friday 1 March, prior to the Pharmacy First claim window being launched at 8am.

‘We manually amended these records on the same day to allow users to make declarations for payment for delivering the Pharmacy First service.’

They added: ‘In addition, some of the data from pharmacy IT systems were displaying incorrectly via MYS for some users.’ This issue had ‘also been resolved’, the spokesperson said.

In response, a spokesperson for the NPA said today: ‘We have acknowledged that NHSBSA moved swiftly to fix the initial problems and they did the right thing by extending submission deadlines.

‘It’s our job to reflect the frustrations of NPA members, who merely want the system to work from end to end and to be correctly paid.’

They said they would be ‘very happy to talk to NHSBSA about our members’ experiences’, adding: ‘It’s surely reasonable to ask for assurances that this system will be robust and reliable going forward.’

Issues were also raised last week about updates to PharmOutcomes – a system used by pharmacies to manage Pharmacy First referral – which reportedly ‘caused havoc’ for pharmacists.

As of 12 February 2024, over 32,000 consultations had been delivered in community pharmacy in England under the seven Pharmacy First clinical pathways, according to NHS England (NHSE)’s head of delivery for community pharmacy clinical strategy.