Pharmacy Quality Scheme

(previously Quality Payments)

The previous Quality Payments Scheme has now been replaced with the Pharmacy Quality Scheme.

The scheme has undergone several, major changes, affecting BOTH gateway and Quality criteria, so please familiarise yourself with the all the updated information before you make a declaration.

Declaration period: Monday 3rd February 2020 – Friday 28th February 2020

Other Important PQS dates

1st October 2019 :

  • NHS 111 DOS profile update window opens
  • NHS.UK window opens to update and/ or validate services, facilities and bank holiday hours
  • Pharmacy should have begun checking diabetic patients have had their foot and eye check ups
  • Pharmacy should have begun Asthma Audits
  • SCR Access window opens

1st November 2019:

  • Claim Aspiration payment (if eligible) by 11:59pm

29th November 2019:

  • Pharmacy must begin Lithium Audit (or Methotrexate or Amiodarone or Phenobarbital) by this date at the latest
  • Pharmacy must begin Valporate Audit by this date at the latest

30th November 2019:

  • Window for NHS.UK profile update/validation closes. You will not meet this criterion if you update after this date.
  • DOS profile update window closes . You will not meet this criterion if you update after this date.

31st January 2020:

  • Pharmacies can stop checking diabetic patients

1st February 2020:

  • Last date for the pharmacy to begin NSAID Audit 2020

Gateway Criteria

To be eligible to collect any points, your pharmacy must meet all of the gateway criteria.

There are four gateway criteria.

Your pharmacy will not be able to claim any money without meeting all four of the following criteria:

1) Specified Advanced Services

The contractor must be offering at the pharmacy the New Medicine Service (NMS) and/or the NHS community pharmacy seasonal influenza vaccination service.

To meet the above, your Pharmacy must offer NMS or the seasonf lu vaccination service.

No other Advanced services will count.

Further Guidance:

NHS England & Improvement Guidance for PQS 2019/20

PSNC Guidance for this Criterion

2) Update / Validate NHS.UK Entry

the contractor must update its NHS website profile in respect of its opening hours (including Easter Sunday 2020 and the following public and bank holidays: Christmas Day 2019, Boxing Day 2019, New Year’s Day 2020, Good Friday 2020, Easter Monday 2020, Early May Bank Holiday 2020 and Spring Bank Holiday 2020), services and facilities and promptly update this as information changes (including Easter Sunday and public and bank holiday opening hours) to ensure the information is accurate for the public (to be eligible for the PQS 2019/2020 payment, this will have to be done between 00:00 on 1 October 2019 and 23:59 on 30 November 2019); distance selling pharmacies must send an email to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) Provider Assurance Team between 00:00 on 1 October 2019 and 23:59 on 30 November 2019 as per the NHS England and NHS Improvement Pharmacy Quality Scheme 2019/20 guidance”

To meet this gateway crtierion, you must have amended or validated your NHS.UK entry between 00:00 on 1st October 2019 and 23:59 30th November 2019. If you validate or amend outside of this, it will not count towards your quality payment.

On the day of the review point, you must update and/or validate the following sections of your entry:

1. Pharmacy Opening times

Core hours and supplementary hours, including any scheduled breaks, must be updated. Opening times for bank holidays up to Spring 2019 should be updated. This includes Easter Sunday– you must confirm all specified in the above criterion

2. Facilities Available to patients

3. Services provided at your pharmacy, including advanced services and both NHS and private

Further Guidance:

NHS England & Improvement Guidance for PQS 2019/20

PSNC Guidance for this criterion

3) NHS Mail Access (Shared, premises mail with two linked live accounts)

” Pharmacy staff at the pharmacy must be able to send and receive NHSmail from their shared premises specific NHSmail account, which must have at least two live linked accounts .”

You must have a shared NHS, premesis specific, email address. If your pharmacy already does then please ensure there at at least two, live accounts associated with the mailbox (linked).

Note: A live account is one that has been activated and then accessed and used at least once every 90 days. As you may already be aware, passwords must be changed every 90 days and after 90 days on inactivity, the account is suspended and then deleted if left dormant for another 90 days after. A suspended or delete account is not considered live and will not meet the above criterion.

To apply for an NHSmail shared mailbox for your pharmacy, use the portal on the NHS website for Pharmacy Registration. Click here to access the portal.

PSNC Guidance on using the registration portal

Pharmacy Support Team:

National Service Desk: 0333 200 1133

  • NHS pharmacy shared NHSmail account: managed by the National Administration Service(NAS) inside the ‘nhspharmacy’ container will have the prefix ‘nhspharmacy’ and will follow the below naming convention:
  • Legacy shared account: Shared NHSmail accounts created prior to the introduction of the NHS pharmacy naming convention typically include the prefix of the organisation that sponsored the creation of the account.

Note: Due to the naming convention, Legacy accounts will not be recognised as shared email addresses for the data sets released by NHS BSA. Therefore, if you are using a legacy account you MUST inform NHS BSA at

You must NOT use a personal address.

Further Guidance

NHS England & Improvement Guidance for PQS 2019/20

PSNC Guidance for this criterion

4) Safeguarding

‘80% of all registered pharmacy professionals working at the pharmacy have achieved level 2 safeguarding status for children and vulnerable adults in the last two years prior to the date of their declaration ‘

Registered pharmacy professionals includes any pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and locums. This does not include pre-registration pharmacists.

For this criterion, each pharmacy professional working on the day of the declaration will count, regardless of the amount of hours they have worked. If someone if off sick or on annual leave on the day, they will not count.

CPPE offer safeguarding for Children and vulnerable adults (links available below) e-learning and e-assessment, these meet the requirements for level 2.

Pharmacy professionals must have achieved level 2 within two years prior to your declaration date. Ensure qualifying pharmacy professionals retrain evidence of completion.

Further guidance:

NHS England & Improvement Guidance for PQS 2019/20

PSNC Guidance for this criterion (Including useful record sheet tool to support pharmacies with this criterion)

Quality Payment Criteria

Since the 2017/18 Quality Payments scheme, there have been many changes to the Quality criteria.

Quality criteria are together in a number of domains. The PQS payment you will receive will be dependent on the number of domains you meet, as opposed to Quality criteria alone as in previous schemes. To fulfill a domain and receive payment, you must meet all the quality criteria specified within that domain in full. You will not receive a payment for a domain you only partially complete.

There are six domains in total, each with a varying number of quality criteria and point value.

The value of each point is dependent on how many pharmacies successfully claim for this domain

DomainQuality CriteriaPointsPotential Value
Risk management and safety domain 530£1,920 – £3,840
Medicines safety audits complementing Quality Outcomes
Framework (QOF) Quality Improvement (QI) domain
325£1,600 – £3,200
Prevention domain525£1,600 – £3,200
Primary Care Networks (PCNs) domain 122.5 (Pharmacy PCN lead)

12.5 (non-pharmacy PCN lead)
£1,440 – £2,880 

£800 – £1,600
Asthma domain 15£320 – £640
Digital enablers domain 22.5£160 – £320


The declaration period for the PQS 2019/20 is Monday 3rd February 2020 – Friday 28th February 2020.

There is not a given review point date, as there was previously for the Quality Payment Scheme.

Some criterion will have specific dates or time frames in which they need to be completed, as noted in the ‘Other Important date’ section above. Others, Instead of a review point or a specified date, are ‘On the day of your declaration’ or similar. Please read the criterion carefully to ensure you have met each one by the date specified.

To make a declaration, you must have met ALL four gateway criteria.

BEFORE you submit your declaration, please be aware of the following points.

1)    Once you submit your declaration, you cannot change it.

Even if you submit in error, you can only submit once. You cannot change your declaration once it has gone. Please be careful when saving if you decide to partially complete to submit later, and make sure you have read over everything and are completely satisfied before you send.

If you are going to save and work on a partially completed declaration rather than submitting immediately, please make sure you remember to submit 

3)    You do not need to submit your evidence with your declaration.

Even though you do not need to include it, please make sure you have evidence of completing the criteria you claim for in your declaration. Your evidence should be clear and easily accessible as you may be subject to spot checks by NHSE or BSA as part of the usual CPCF, it may be useful to have all of your evidence in place before you make your declaration.


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