Get ready for Quality Payments


Get ready for Quality Payments

Get involved today in community pharmacy’s digital future, says Dawn Williams, head of customer development at Celesio UK.

Here's the first steps to take to qualify for some of the Quality Payments that have recently been introduced.

With new pharmacy funding arrangements in England the government has signalled the importance of pharmacy to work digitally, such as having information available online and making more use of online patient information. This aspiration is echoed by the Community Pharmacy Forward View. New targets for contractors, in the Quality Payments Scheme, will help to make this happen.

However, the healthcare sector is traditionally slow to move with the times, so this expectation could be a big challenge for many pharmacy contractors. What are the first steps?  

Two of the four gateway criteria that pharmacies must meet as part of the Quality Payments Scheme – before they even have a chance of receiving a quality payment – are digital requirements.

NHS Choices and NHSmail

First you must have an up to date NHS Choices entry and second the ability to send and receive NHSmail. To set up or update your NHSmail account to meet gateway criterion for the Quality Payments scheme, visit:

NHS Digital will enable contractors to update their NHS Choices profile or confirm its accuracy from 7 February. By each review date, contractors must update or validate three key sections: opening hours, facilities provided by the pharmacy and services provided by the pharmacy.

How to update your NHS Choices page:

  • Go to
  • Look for ‘log in’ at the top right corner of the page and enter your details
  • You will see a administrative screen listing the NHS Choices pharmacy profiles that you have editing rights for
  • Click on the name of the page you want to edit
  • Check and update pharmacy profile.

Once you’ve ensured that you meet the gateway criteria, there are two further digital proof points as part of the Quality Payment Scheme. These refer to the use of Summary Care Records and the central NHS 111 Directory of Services.

Summary care records

The Summary Care Record is a great tool. It provides pharmacy professionals with much needed knowledge of patients that can improve decision making and enhance patient care. It gives pharmacists the opportunity to spot potential interventions and provide greater insight into patients’ medical condition. This is particularly important when conducting MURs and dispensing emergency supply. Having a more complete view of a patient’s medical history means pharmacists can make more informed decisions. 

There is £640 to claim by demonstrating compliance of this requirement through the Quality Payments Scheme. Not only that, the use of summary care records also shows a willingness to integrate with the NHS and offer more joined up healthcare services, something that can only be of benefit to the health of the nation. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society website [] is a good place to find out more.

A quick guide to SCR access

• Request and ensure the correct Role Based Access Control (RBAC) is added to your smartcard profile

• Complete the CPPE online SCR training

• Find out who your Information Governance/Privacy Officer is and their contact details (or make sure you have the contact details for your Privacy Officer or have completed the relevant training)

• Review your pharmacy’s SOPs regarding SCR access

• Ensure you are logged in with your own smartcard

• Access the portal [] and select “Launch Summary Care Record”. Save shortcut to desktop for easy access

• Search for the patient, ideally using NHS number, but if this is not yet known try: surname, data of birth, postcode etc

• Check you have selected the right patient

• Record permission to view

• View SCR and use your insight to support better service for patients.

Directory of services

The second digital criterion of the new Quality Payment Scheme is about ensuring your pharmacy’s entry within the central NHS 111 Directory of Services is up to date. This will make it easier for patients to be referred to their local community pharmacy and again gives us an opportunity to show that pharmacy is an integral part of the NHS.

It’s very important that your data within the directory is correct and current. This means that NHS 111 call handlers can access real time information about your pharmacy’s opening hours and services that are available to support patients in need of urgent care.

You can tick this requirement off the list and secure five points: equivalent to £320 of your quality payment. NHS England and NHS Digital are yet to confirm how pharmacies can action this requirement, but watch any news via the PSNC website:

What to do now to meet these digital requirements:

1. Sign up to NHS Mail

2. Make sure your NHS Choices entry is up to date from Tuesday 7 February

3. Increase your access of summary care records

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