The PSNC has said it has agreed important changes to the gateway and quality criteria for a revised Quality Payments Scheme after talks with NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care.

The changes, which applies to the last six months of 2018-19, includes a correction period allowing contractors who have not met the gateway criteria more time to do so. That will allow them to receive payments relating to any requirements they have met.

Changes to the gateway criteria include the NHSmail criterion requiring contractors to have at least two live personal accounts linked to their shared premises NHSmail account and removal of the EPS criterion which has been replaced with a requirement on IT operating system and web browser compliance with the NHS Digital Warranted Environment Specification. The CPPQ quality criterion has also become a gateway criterion.

Changes to the quality criteria includes removal of the safeguarding and summary care records criteria, new criteria on risk management, an audit on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and gastro-protection and further criteria requirements for the written patient safety report, Healthy Living Pharmacy and asthma.

The quality criteria for the NHS 111 Directory of Services and Dementia Friends stay the same.

“The Quality Payments Scheme has been an important change for community pharmacies in allowing us to demonstrate how we are contributing directly to some key NHS objectives. Pharmacies have stepped up to the challenge and delivered some excellent results at the last three Quality Payment Scheme review points,” said Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services at the PSNC (pictured).

“PSNC considered all of the changes to the criteria that we have agreed this time very carefully indeed, and our negotiations focused on balancing the need for any changes to be as manageable for pharmacy workloads as possible, with the need for pharmacy to help the NHS as much as it can.

“Pharmacy teams should read our guidance on the criteria changes in detail, and over the coming weeks we will be adding to our set of QPS resources to help them to meet the criteria.”

The PSNC said: “The revised scheme will have a review point on 15th February 2019, with contractors having a four-week window throughout February in which to make their declarations.”