National Negotiation 2016 Update
Pharmacy Access Scheme
DH intends to launch a Pharmacy Access Scheme (PhAS) from December. The scheme will see extra payments made to pharmacies that to pharmacies that meet the requirements for the scheme. DH has a national formula to identify those pharmacies that are eligible.
The aim of the Pharmacy Access Scheme (PhAS) is to ensure that a baseline level of patient access to NHS community pharmaceutical services in England is protected. The PhAS will protect access in areas where there are fewer pharmacies with higher health needs, so that no area need be left without access to NHS community pharmaceutical services. Qualifying pharmacies will receive an additional payment, meaning those pharmacies will be protected from the full effect of the reduction in funding from December 2016.
1.2. The scheme will be paid for from the funding for the community pharmacy contractual framework (CPCF). The PhAS will be an additional monthly payment made to all small and medium sized pharmacies that are a mile or more from another pharmacy. These payments will mean that those pharmacies make a smaller efficiency saving than other pharmacies, 1% in 2016/17 and 3% in 2017/18. Pharmacies dispensing the largest prescription volumes (the top 25%) will not qualify for the scheme – these pharmacies are large businesses who we expect to continue to be viable in any case.
1.3. The PhAS has been designed to capture the pharmacies that are most important for patient access, specifically those pharmacies where patient and public access would be materially affected should they close. The PhAS takes isolation and need levels into account.
1.4. Pharmacies in areas with dense provision of pharmacies are excluded from the scheme. The PhAS is designed to safeguard a baseline level of access to NHS community pharmaceutical services. In areas with high numbers of pharmacies, public access to pharmacies is not at risk. To best protect access, the scheme is focussed on areas that may be at risk of reduced access; for example where a local population relies on a single pharmacy.
1.5. The scheme will include a review process to deal with any inaccuracies in our calculations, or any unforeseen circumstances affecting access; like a road closure. We will also review cases where there may be a high level of deprivation, and pharmacies are slightly less than a mile from another pharmacy, but critical to access.