NHS England sets out guidance for new quality scheme for community pharmacy

NHS England has published initial guidance for a new scheme which for the first time financially rewards community pharmacists for improving the quality of care for patients.

The Quality Payments Scheme initial guidance is part of the Department of Health’s Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework, announced in October 2016.

Up to £75 million is available to community pharmacies in England that wish to qualify for the scheme, which runs from December 2016 to March 2018 in the first instance.

The scheme reflects three elements of quality – patient safety, patient experience and clinical effectiveness.

Further guidance to help community pharmacies prepare for the scheme is expected to be published in January 2017. The first payments under the scheme can be claimed in April 2017.

The initiative complements NHS England’s direction of travel for community pharmacy, working with the professions to develop a more clinically-focused community pharmacy service that is better integrated within the NHS to improve patients’ health and ease demand on other parts of the health service.

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Dr Keith Ridge said: “This new scheme is designed to encourage community pharmacy professionals to make the most of their valuable clinical skills and to integrate more effectively with the wider health service in order to improve the quality of care provided for patients.”