Regs reminder (#11): NHSE&I inspections and access to electronic information

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?

Prior to the changes at the end of last year, a pharmacy contractor had to allow persons authorised in writing by NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I), to enter and inspect the pharmacy at any reasonable time, and, subject to certain requirements, allow access to any information which is reasonably required:

  • for ascertaining whether the contractor is complying with the terms of service;
  • auditing, monitoring and analysing the contractor’s provision made for patient care and treatment in the course of providing NHS pharmacy services, and management of NHS pharmacy services;
  • in connection with its functions that relate to NHS pharmacy services.

Pharmacy contractors must now, on request, also send to NHSE&I by electronic means, any information that could be requested at an inspection, if the contractor has the relevant information in electronic form, or information can reasonably be converted into an appropriate electronic form. If that is not possible, NHSE&I may need to visit the pharmacy to inspect the information.

Additionally, at NHSE&I’s request, or at the request of a person authorised in writing by NHSE&I, a contractor must send to NHSE&I a duly completed questionnaire, for example, the Community Pharmacy Assurance Framework (CPAF) screening questionnaire or full questionnaire.

The questionnaire must be approved by NHSE&I and be for the purpose of determining whether an inspection of the pharmacy is necessary or expedient. NHSE&I must consult PSNC before a contractor is asked to complete a questionnaire, as is the normal process in relation to CPAF.

The date for the start of this year’s CPCF has been announced to begin Monday 28th June 2021 until Friday 24th July 2021

Where can I get more support on this?

Further information on contract monitoring can be found on our Contract monitoring page and in the new NHS guidance.

Support the call for more funding by recording information about the informal advice you provide to patients over just one day.

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