NHS Standard Contract

Published on: 1st April 2016 | Updated on: 31st March 2022

Many services provided by community pharmacists are commissioned locally according to the needs of the local population in the relevant health and wellbeing board area. Locally commissioned community pharmacy services can be contracted via a number of different routes and by different commissioners, including local authorities (LAs), NHS England’s Regions (local NHS teams) and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

From 1 April 2014, local NHS teams and CCGs wishing to commission (non-primary care) community services are required to use the NHS Standard Contract – more information about the NHS Standard Contract can be found here).

Service level agreement (SLA)

As a result of commissioning, a written document, often incorporating a SLA, will be agreed between the parties.

Community Pharmacy England prepared the briefing below which provides information on SLAs.

Community Pharmacy England Briefing 026/15: Contracts and Service Level Agreements

For the purpose of this briefing, a simple SLA is explained, which may be sufficient for some agreements between commissioners and individual pharmacy contractors.

Appendix 1 describes the terms to be found in an SLA.

Appendix 2  contains a simple SLA.

2017/18 NHS Standard Contract

On 7 November 2016, NHS England published on the NHS Standard Contract 2017/18 web page:

  • NHS Standard Contract, comprising Particulars, Service Conditions, General Conditions
  • NHS Standard Contract Technical Guidance
  • NHS Standard Contract Template SDIP for Sustainability and Transformation Fund performance
  • NHS shorter-form Contract, comprising Particulars, Service Conditions, General Conditions
  • NHS shorter-form Contract User Guide
  • Summary of key changes made in response to consultation feedback

On 11 November 2016, the NHS Standard Contract Delta View comparison documents were published on the NHS Standard Contract 2017/18 web page. The Delta View documents show the ‘tracked changes’ between the 2016/17 version of the Contract, and the 2017-19 version.

The following documents have also been published:

  • Guidance on National Variations to existing 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 full length contracts and National Variation Agreement
  • NHS sub-contracts for use with NHS Standard Contract (full length and shorter-form versions)

The NHS Standard eContract system is also now available.

The NHS shorter-form Contract 2017/18-2018/19 has now been published as an interactive pdf, and is available on the NHS Standard Contract 2017/18 web page https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/short-frm-contrcat-intrctv-v8.pdf

The pdf is in an interactive format and is designed to be a training tool to assist commissioners and providers in completing and understanding the NHS shorter-form Contract.  It links the text from the shorter-form Contract (Particulars, Service Conditions and General Conditions) with the relevant defined terms and text from the NHS Standard Contract Technical Guidance. On 22 August 2017, NHS England published Guidance on the Variations Process: full-length and shorter-form contracts which contains guidance on the process to effect variations to a commissioning contract in the form of the NHS Standard Contract (full length or shorter-form) and is relevant to all commissioners and providers – including community pharmacy who maybe parties to an NHS Standard Contract.


Q. What is the Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty Lead?
The Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty Lead is defined in the General Conditions of both the NHS Standard Contract and NHS Shorter-form Contract as “the officer responsible for advice, support, training and audit to ensure compliance with the 2005 Act, the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (where appropriate) and associated codes of practice, identified as such in the Particulars.”

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 aims to protect people who lack capacity, and maximise their ability to make decisions or participate in decision-making. It is important that patients are assumed to have capacity unless it is established otherwise. Further information on obligations under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 appear in the Department for Constitutional Affairs (now part of the Ministry of Justice)’s Code of Practice.

Q. I hear that the NHS Standard Contract requires us to have a Prevent Lead. What is this?
A Prevent Lead is defined in the General Conditions of the NHS Standard Contract as “the officer of the Provider responsible for implementation and dissemination of the Government Prevent Strategy, identified as such in the Particulars”. The Government’s Prevent Strategy concerns its counter-terrorism strategy to prevent radicalisation and stop would-be terrorists from committing mass murder – the Prevent Lead would assist in this objective.

Q. Does the NHS Standard Contract require pharmacy to maintain a gifts and hospitality register?
GC27 of the NHS Standard Contract and GC27 of the shorter form contract is the relevant provision which would require pharmacy to have a gifts and hospitality register and maintain and publish on its website an up-to-date register if required by law and / or guidance.

At the moment, there appears to be no law or guidance requiring a pharmacy to maintain a gifts and hospitality register.

For more information on this topic please email regulations.team@cpe.org.uk

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