Regs reminder (#10): Commencement notices and contractors entering administration

Ahead of the 2021/22 contract monitoring process, community pharmacy contractors are reminded of recent changes to the pharmacy Terms of Service. This article is part of a series of reminders.

On 20th October 2020 new NHS regulations were laid to introduce changes to the Terms of Service for pharmacy contractors. PSNC issued a series of 14 Regs explainer articles in November 2020 to help contractors and their teams to understand the new requirements.

Whilst deadlines for compliance with the changes have now passed, the end of 2020 was a particularly busy time for pharmacies, so contractors are advised to review our reminders in preparation for completing the 2021/22 Community Pharmacy Assurance Framework (CPAF) survey, which will include questions on some aspects of the new Terms of Service.

What is required?

Commencement notices

Prior to the changes at the end of last year, a contractor or applicant, had to give NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) a valid commencement notice (e.g. to open a new pharmacy), in the correct form, no more than 14 days in advance. PSNC guidance has been that at least one month’s informal notice should be given to ensure there is time for NHSE&I to authorise changes to the Organisation Data Service (ODS) code and connectivity to be established to NHS services, including the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS).


  • a contractor, or applicant, must give NHSE&I a commencement notice no fewer than 30 days in advance, unless a shorter period of notice has been agreed with NHSE&I prior to giving NHSE&I the commencement notice; and
  • the contractor, or applicant may change the date on which services will commence (from the original to a new opening date) but to do so must notify NHSE&I as soon as reasonably practicable of any change of date, and this must be in advance of both the old and new opening dates.

NHSE&I have made a form available to contractors for applicants to change the date of commencement.

This change does not apply to a notice of consolidation.

Pharmacy contractors entering administration

If a pharmacy contractor’s company enters administration, the contractor must notify NHSE&I of this. The notice must be in writing and may be by electronic means.

A company enters administration when the appointment of an administrator takes effect.

NHSE&I have made a form available to contractors to notify them that the company has entered administration.

Training for repeat dispensing

In addition, a specific requirement for contractors to undertake appropriate training in respect of repeat dispensing is removed from the terms of service, although such training remains a part of general induction and other staff training, as appropriate.

Where can I get more support on this?

Further guidance on these Term of Service is contained within NHSE&I’s regulations guidance.

Further guidance on putting your company into administration may be found at GOV.UK or obtained from professional advisers.