Pharmacy Quality Scheme Overview

Pharmacy Quality Scheme

In December 2016, a Community Pharmacy Quality Payments Scheme (QPS) was introduced which forms part of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF). Then, July 2019 saw a new Pharmacy Quality Scheme announced for the remainder of 2019/20. This was part of the five-year deal CPCF with funding of £75 million.


The Pharmacy Quality Scheme started on 1 October 2019 and participating contractors must declare their performance against the quality domains. It must take place during the declaration window between 3 February 2020 and 28 February 2020. Here’s a brief overview of the new QPS and what community pharmacies and their teams can expect.

How Does The New Pharmacy Quality Scheme Payment Work?


The Quality Pharmacy Scheme was designed to reward community pharmacies for delivering quality criteria in all three of the quality dimensions. These include Clinical Effectiveness, Patient Safety and Patient Experience.


The 2019/2020 scheme has been renamed the Pharmacy Quality scheme (PQS) so that it differentiates itself from previous schemes. It aims at highlighting that the elements within need to become business as usual and not simply one-off tasks.


How To Qualify For A Pharmacy Quality Scheme Payment


Pharmacy contractors who want to qualify for a PQS payment in 2019/2020 must meet the four gateway criteria on the day of their declaration. As mentioned earlier, they need to make their declaration between 3 February 2020 and 28 February 2020. We’ve included a brief overview of the gateway criteria but you can find the full breakdown on this document.


Related article: ‘New Community Pharmacy Funding Deal


Gateway Criteria for PQS 2019/2020 Overview


  • Contractors must offer the New Medicine Service (NMS) and/or the NHS community pharmacy seasonal influenza vaccination service
  • Pharmacy team members must be able to send and receive NHS mail using their shared premises specific NHS email account. It must also have at least two live linked accounts
  • The contractor must update its NHS website profile with opening hours, services offered and available facilities. Pharmacies must complete this between 00:00 on 1 October 2019 and 23:59 on 30 November 2019.
  • 80% of all registered pharmacy professionals working at the pharmacy must have achieved level 2 safeguarding status for children and vulnerable adults in the last two years before the date of their declaration


Need help setting up and maintaining your NHSmail account? This help document provides some helpful tips and you can find more advice on the PSNC website.


Quality Criteria For Pharmacy Quality Scheme 2019/2020


Pharmacy contractors who pass all the gateway criteria on the day of the declaration will receive a PQS payment if they meet one or more of the domains listed below. Contractors must meet all of the quality criteria in each domain and payment will depend on how many domains they meet. The 6 composite bundles are:


  • Risk management and safety
  • Medicines safety audits which complement the Quality and Outcomes Framework Quality Improvement scheme within the GP contract
  • Prevention and promoting healthy living with information and advice
  • Primary care network integration
  • Asthma reviews and referrals where necessary
  • Digital enablers to improve and support real-time referrals and patient access


Each bundle is worth a different amount of points and contractors must complete each component to claim the money. Read more about the QPS quality criteria on the PSNC website.


Taking Pharmacy Service To The Next Level


The QPS payment is not just about claiming financial rewards for delivering operational tasks but it is also about changing the way that our community pharmacists and their teams operate. The elements from PQS need to become embedded within the psyche and behaviour of teams and not just because there is an audit to complete or an inspection is due.


For example, they need to check whether 5-year old Tommy has a spacer device when prescribed an inhaled corticosteroid for asthma. Or whether Mrs Jones received her gastro-protection prescription after starting on a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. Other elements like reducing risks from LASA errors and ensuring that patients with dementia feel safe and welcome within the pharmacy all need to become business as usual in the community pharmacy. By embracing all of these elements, the community pharmacy team will ensure that they are delivering the right things for their local community as well as working alongside the rest of the primary care team to deliver the NHS long term plan.


Community Pharmacy Training And Skills Development


We need to embrace the opportunity that PQS gives Community Pharmacy to showcase their skills and training whilst helping to keep their patients safe and healthy. Level 2 safeguarding training is available to all pharmacy professionals who are registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). Training modules  for your health professionals can be found on the CPPE website and your team training can be supported by  VirtualOutcomes


Recommended Read: ‘PQS: Diabetes Foot And Eye Checks


Online Training With VirtualOutcomes


Virtual Outcomes have produced a suite of training materials to help community pharmacies achieve the maximum number of points. This will allow them to claim the maximum payment as per the Pharmacy Quality Scheme.


To make it easier for you to navigate the Pharmacy Quality Scheme, we have divided the training into a set of modules. This means you can dip and out of them depending on you and the requirements of your team.


In Module 1, we will look at the gateway criteria and then separate modules on each of the composite bundles. These include Risk management and Safety, Medicines Safety Audits and Prevention. The bundles on Primary Care Networks, Asthma and Digital Enablers are all in one module. Finally, there is a brief summary module which also includes the CPD questions on the entire course.