Update – LFD service: Provider Assurance activity begins

Update – 19th December 2023 – There has been an update to the process, below, that the PAT will follow.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) Provider Assurance Team (PA Team) will soon start to undertake provider assurance work with pharmacy owners providing the Lateral Flow Devices (LFD) test supply service. The reviews, commissioned by NHS England, will engage with pharmacy owners who:

  •  appear to have made an unexpectedly high number of claims; and  
  • are registered to provide the service but have not updated their NHS profiles to reflect this.  

Pharmacy owners are reminded to check the eligibility criteria of patients for the supply of LFD tests and to update their NHS profile via the NHS Profile Manager once the pharmacy has registered to deliver the service. 

The process  

The provider assurance approach for the LFD test supply service will initially begin by identifying a relatively small cohort of pharmacies nationwide with an unexpectedly high volume of claims over the first few weeks of the service going live. 

The NHSBSA will send an email to pharmacy owners which will aim to check their understanding of the service, the checks being carried out on patients’ eligibility, and that they are keeping the necessary records in line with the service specification.  

The email will ask the pharmacy owner four questions: 

  1. Does the pharmacy have a standard operating procedure (SOP) in place for the service?
  2. Has the pharmacy updated NHS Profile Manager to state that the service is available to eligible patients from your pharmacy? Note that it is a regulatory requirement for a contractor to ensure that there is a comprehensive and accurate pharmacy profile in respect of their pharmacy premises on the NHS.uk website. 
  3. Does each patient that requests the service have their eligibility checked? Where a patient’s representative requests the service on the patient’s behalf, the patient’s eligibility should be determined with the representative. 
  4. Does the pharmacy retain appropriate records including confirmation of patient eligibility each time the service is provided, for example, in the Community Pharmacy England record form LFD-Record-Form-2023.pdf (cpe.org.uk)? 

The responses will be recorded and used as part of later provider assurance work if NHS England seeks to recover payments (remuneration and reimbursement) from pharmacy owners.    

In January 2024, the NHSBSA PAT will engage with around a further 50 pharmacies, broadly one pharmacy per integrated care board (ICB), who appear to be outliers for claims made since the service began. 

After completing these checks and collating results, NHS England will decide whether there is a need for a wider provider assurance exercise of the LFD service.   

Community Pharmacy England encourages any pharmacy owners who are selected, to engage fully with the NHSBSA PAT throughout the process.   

Further information on provider assurance and PPV processes can be found on our PPV webpage. 

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