December Blog; Quality Payments Update

Quality Payments Update

In September a new Quality Payments Scheme was announced with several revisions to the existing criteria. The revised scheme will run for the remainder of the 2018/19 financial year.

The review point will be Friday 15th February and claims can be made any time between 4th February and 1st March. The NHS BSA will carry out claims’ validation within a week of receipt. Early submission is advised as contractors who appear not to have met the criteria in relation to their declaration will be informed and will have the option to provide further evidence to support their claim.

So what’s new? PSNC Briefing 051/18: A summary of the second Quality Payments Scheme 2018/19 gives the detail of this and provides a useful guide to the changes. There are now five Gateway Criteria rather than the previous four and passing the Gateway Criteria does not in itself earn any quality payment, but does allow access to the scheme:

  1. The contractor must be offering at the pharmacy Medicines Use Review (MUR) or New Medicine Service (NMS); or must be registered for NHS Urgent Medicine Supply Advanced Service Pilot;
  2. The NHS.UK entry, including bank holiday opening hours, for the pharmacy must be up to date;
  3. The results of the last completed Community Pharmacy Patient Questionnaire is publicly available on the pharmacy’s NHS.UK page or for distance selling pharmacies it is displayed on their website;
  4. Pharmacy staff at the pharmacy must be able to send and receive NHSmail from their shared premises NHSmail account, which must have at least two live linked accounts; and
  5. The contractor must have consulted the NHS Digital Warranted Environment Specification (WES) and/or their System Supplier(s) and have assured themselves, and can demonstrate, that all their operating system and browser versions currently in use in their pharmacy to link to NHS Digital systems, such as the Electronic Prescription Service and Summary Care Record, comply with the WES; and are therefore supported by NHS Digital for connectivity to NHS Spine systems.

The Quality Criteria have been revised, including the number of points available for each criterion, and only the Digital/Urgent Care domain (NHS 111 DOS entry is up to date) and the Workforce domain (80% of staff in patient facing roles are “Dementia Friends”) remain unchanged. Therefore, additional work will be required to ensure that claims can be legitimately made for the points available within the domains (i.e. Patient Safety, Public Health, and Clinical Effectiveness).

Of particular note is that some additional staff training will need to be completed by the review point:

  • Children’s Oral Health– 80% of customer facing staff need to have successfully completed this training. This includes counter staff, dispensing staff and pharmacists and CPPE registration is required (includes counter staff and dispensers). The training requires watching a 20-minute video, doing a little reading/preparation and then taking the online e-assessment.
  • Risk Management– 80% of pharmacists need to have completed this training and passed the online e-assessment. The pack was sent out in February and may have already been done. It is available online for download if the original pack has been lost or mislaid.

I’ve done the CPPE training and although fairly straightforward it does take some time. For the Children’s Oral Health allow at least an hour and for the Risk Management pack anything between two and four hours. Additional time will be needed to support non-GPhC registered pharmacy team members with the CPPE registration process. It should be noted that CPPE have some useful resources that support the claiming of Quality Payments as well as information on the registration process and training packages.

The e-assessments involve timed multiple-choice questions. This could be a challenge, and a new experience, for non-GPhC registered pharmacy team members. The e-assessments have an 80% pass mark and involve 10 multiple-choice questions with 45 minutes allowed – anybody that doesn’t hit the pass mark is blocked out of the system for 20 hours. Also, the ‘ticking clock’ counting down the time in the corner of the screen really isn’t helpful and just adds to the pressure…

It’s two years since the Quality Payments Scheme was introduced in December 2016 and £75 million was paid to community pharmacy contractors who met the specified quality criteria –  so, I know this is a busy time of year, but it is worth the time and effort.