Practice Payment and dispensing staff levels
Published on: 12th September 2014 | Updated on: 30th March 2022
Information on Practice Payments is included in Part VIA of the Drug Tariff.
This information applies to Wales only
Pharmacies must declare the total number of hours that staff members supporting the dispensing process work in an average week on the FP34C Submission Form. If a pharmacy declares less than the minimum staffing levels outlined in Part VIA of the Tariff, they will only receive the level of the Practice Payment for the number of items indicated by their actual level of staffing. If no declaration is made, the Practice Payment will be paid at the minimum level.
The total number of hours declared should be rounded to the nearest whole number; if the number is 0.5 hours or less, round down and if the number is more than 0.5 hours, round up. If the number of dispensing staff hours per week alters in the course of the month for which the declaration is being made, for example because a brand new post is established, the lowest number should be declared. The declaration should include all staff members involved in the dispensing process, including pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, dispensing/pharmacy assistants and medicines counter assistants.
The ‘dispensing process’ includes:
- the taking in and issuing of prescriptions;
- dispensing prescriptions;
- clinical assessment of prescriptions and accuracy check of dispensed items;
- stock ordering and putting stock away;
- preparation and assembly of medicinal products;
- resolving queries related to prescriptions;
- counselling patients on their prescriptions, and
- carrying out the administration necessary for the payment of prescriptions (e.g. endorsing and filing prescriptions);
Where a staff member has multiple roles (for example, a medicines counter assistant who spends 50% of their time taking in prescriptions and helping patients complete the exemption declaration and 50% of their time undertaking general tasks on the retail side of the pharmacy business), only the number of hours spent supporting the dispensing process may be counted in the staffing declaration.
In the particular weeks covered by the declaration, a member of staff may have been absent for example on annual leave, or a period of sickness absence. In these circumstances the staff member may still be included in the declaration, as this is a record of the normal staffing levels for the pharmacy. If a member of staff leaves and the pharmacy is actively engaged in arranging a replacement for the post, that post may similarly be included in the declaration. However NHS England. when monitoring staffing levels, will need to be satisfied that the levels declared do reflect the normal staffing levels of the pharmacy, and if a staff member is not replaced for a prolonged period NHS England may decline to accept that post as counting toward the pharmacy’s staffing level. NHS England may wish to look at payroll and other evidence of employment if it has concerns about the validity of the declaration.
No, delivering medicines to a patient’s home is not considered part of the dispensing process. Therefore, a delivery driver who is solely employed for this purpose should not be counted as part of the declaration. If only part of the employee’s job is delivering prescriptions and they are supporting the dispensing process at other times, the proportion of the employee’s job that is spent supporting the dispensing process can be counted.
If your spouse is not on the payroll and has no job description, NHS England may not accept him/her as part of your staff. NHS England may also have concerns about you meeting some of the new contract’s Clinical Governance requirements if a staff member does not have a contract of employment.
Yes as they are supporting the dispensing process.
Yes, both of these tasks are supporting the dispensing process so you can count this employee when making your declaration.
Yes, for the purposes of the staffing declaration, you can count any staff member who is supporting the dispensing process and who has been trained to undertake the functions that are being performed by them. It is not necessary for the purposes of the staffing declaration for the staff member to have obtained a recognised qualification or certificate.
If a member of staff leaves and the pharmacy is actively engaged in arranging a replacement for the post, that post may be included in the declaration. However when NHS England monitors staffing levels they will need to be satisfied that the levels declared do reflect the normal staffing levels of the pharmacy. If a staff member is not replaced for a prolonged period NHS England may decline to accept that post as counting toward the establishment level.
Yes, a staff member’s contracted number of hours can still be counted when the staff member is absent for short periods of time, for example, when on holidays.
Yes, your staff member can be counted if they have only been absent for a short period or if they have been absent long term but are receiving statutory sick pay.
Yes, if you regularly employ locum staff to support the dispensing process, the total number of hours that locum staff are employed in a typical week can be included in the staffing declaration.