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Regulators reduce required notice periods for changing supplementary hours

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The regulators have reduced the notice periods for change to supplementary opening hours for community pharmacy contractors from 1 October 2022.

Following the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC)’s discussions with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England as part of Year 4 negotiations, it has been agreed that the required notice periods for changes to supplementary opening hours will reduce to five weeks.

Community pharmacy contractors who want to change their supplementary opening hours are required by their terms of service to notify NHS England.

“If a contractor wants to increase supplementary opening hours at the pharmacy, this can be done with no notice – but notification of the change must still be given to NHS England,” said PSNC.

“To decrease supplementary opening hours at the pharmacy, at least five weeks’ notice must be given to NHS England prior to implementing the change.”

The amendment to the regulations has been agreed to give contractors more flexibility in changing supplementary opening hours by reducing the three months period that contractors previously have had to give for increasing or decreasing these hours.

PSNC said: “Contractors are encouraged to give NHS England as much notice of changes as they can of any changes to supplementary opening hours.”

NHS England has published a template notification form (see Chapter 36, Annex 7 – Notification of changes to supplementary opening hours) for this purpose. The form is in the process of being updated to reflect the amended notice periods.

“The pharmacy has the right to amend supplementary opening hours as long as the required notice/notification is given. This is not an application process and there is no requirement for NHS England to approve or grant changes to supplementary opening hours.”

Using the NHS Profile Manager tool, contractors will need to update their opening hours in their NHS website profile and their Directory of Services (DoS) profile, to reflect their changed opening hours.

However, there are separate terms of service procedures for applying to change core opening hours. “Any change to core opening hours must be approved or granted by NHS England,” said PSNC.

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