PLPS Regulations May 2023 Amendment

Published on: 9th June 2023 | Updated on: 20th May 2024

On 27th April 2023, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) introduced regulatory changes in response to increased temporary closures (temporary suspensions in the provision of pharmaceutical services) of pharmacies in England and related pressures. The changes are contained within The National Health Service (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 and add to and amend the NHS (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013 (PLPS regulations).

The regulatory changes took effect on 25th May 2023, except for a new requirement for a business continuity plan dealing with temporary closures (suspensions), which takes effect on 31st July 2023.

We have produced a briefing that details what these amendments mean: Community Pharmacy England Briefing 012/23: DHSC’s changes to the Pharmaceutical Regulations.

NHS England has published their Guidance on the changes and template forms to be used when submitting applications and notifications for the new regulations. Contractors are encouraged to review our briefing and the NHS Guidance before completing a notification or application using the templates and sending to the ICB. NHS England – Pharmacy Manual – Pharmacy Template Forms.

Click on a heading below for more information.

Multiple applications/notifications

Contractors may wish to submit more than one application or notification, below are a summary of which forms to use and when to send them to the ICB.

Introducing rest breaks (not for 100-hour or former 100-hour pharmacies): 

When introducing a rest break (for a maximum of one hour) and this results in removing a core hour, that core hour must be added on to either the beginning or the end of the day.

This process is a notification and has a 5 week notification period. Therefore, you can submit the notification to the ICB and provide the date that the changes will take effect using this form.

Reducing supplementary hours:

If you have supplementary hours you may wish to remove a supplementary hour and replace it with the core hour that has been moved to accommodate the rest break and not extend the working day or reduce all supplementary hours.

This process is a notification and has a 5 week notification period. Therefore, you can submit the notification to the ICB and provide the date that the changes will take effect, using this form.

Introducing rest breaks and reducing supplementary hours and rearranging core opening hours:

This is similar to the scenario mentioned above. However, in this case a contractor may have supplementary hours at the beginning of the day and core hours for the rest of the day.

For example:

– Current opening hours Monday – Friday: 9am-10:30am are supplementary hours, 10:30am-6:30pm core hours.

– Proposed opening hours with a rest break Monday – Friday: 9am-1pm core hours, 1pm-2pm rest break, 2pm-6pm core hours.

In this example the contractor would need to submit two notifications (rest break and decrease in supplementary hours) and an application (rearrange core hours). The core hour for the rest break would need to be added at the beginning of the day along with removing all supplementary hours. The half an hour core opening at the end of the day would need to be rearranged to sit at the beginning of each day instead.

With a core opening hours change application you would need to provide evidence that the current provision is unnecessary or is not realistically achievable.

Two of the processes are notifications and have a 5-week notification period, one of the processes is an application. You can submit both of the notifications and the application to the ICB at the same time. The date the notifications can take effect is 5 weeks after submitting but the application cannot commence until 30 days after the ICB has given their approval. The determination of the application sits with the ICB, and the above scenario cannot be guaranteed to be successful.


Do I need to fill out Annex [X] on the Annex 2: Application to reduce the total core opening hours of a 100-hour pharmacy?

No, this section is for the ICB to fill out.

I do not know which of my opening hours are supplementary or core. Where can I find out?

Your ICB should have this information, contact them by using the correct contact email address from this list. If you do not know which ICB you are in please consult this map.

Can a rest break be for longer than 1 hour?

No, rest breaks must only be for the duration of 1 hour. Other breaks between core hours may be sort with an application to change core opening hours (Note that the notification procedure for rest breaks does not apply to 100-hour pharmacies).

Are there any restrictions when a rest break start and end?

At least 3 hours after the start and 3 hours before the end of the pharmacy’s opening hours for the day. However, a rest break can start and end at any time on a Sunday.

As a 100-hour pharmacy, when can I start the reduced core opening hours?

The application to reduce the 100 core opening hours by a maximum of 28 hours to (no less than) 72 hours has a requirement to provide NHS England with a 5-week notification period. Therefore, you must include as a minimum a start date 5-weeks after the date your application is (or will be) received by the ICB.

Do I need to wait for the ICB to determine my application to reduce my 100 core opening hours before implementing the change?

No, as long as your application is a valid application you can start your new hours 5 weeks after your application is (or will be) received by the ICB, even if you have not yet had a decision from the ICB.

(We advise you wait for the decision from the ICB because you may only change your core opening hours after the 5 weeks if the application is valid.)

My application to reduce my 100 core opening hours has been refused as it is not a valid application. Why could this be?

A valid application for a reduction of core opening hours as a 100-hour contractor is one that does not reduce the following existing core opening hours:

  • 5pm-9pm Monday – Saturday
  • Total number of core opening hours on a Sunday
  • 11am-4pm on a Sunday

Can my ICB reject my 100-hour pharmacy reduction to 72-hours based on patient needs?

No, the only basis to reject this type of application is if the application is not valid.

Can I put in more than one application to reduce my core opening hours as a 100-hour pharmacy?

Yes, but each application must apply to reduce core opening hours.

A key advantage to reducing your core hours in this way is that you can rearrange your core hours as you see fit without the requirement to provide evidence of patient need (with such an application, you may not reduce core opening hours below 72 each week and are subject to the core opening hours you may not reduce – see question X).

Therefore, by reducing your core opening hours in stages, you have multiple opportunities to rearrange most of your core opening hours.

Once you have reduced your core opening hours to 72-each week, as part of one or more applications to reduce your core opening hours, you can no longer apply to reduce further. If you want to rearrange your core opening hours after you have reduced down to 72 hours per week you must apply to change/redistribute core opening hours in accordance with patient needs (with such an application, you may not reduce core opening hours below 72 each week and are subject to the core opening hours you may not reduce – see question X).

My 100-hour pharmacy doesn’t currently open on Sundays or between 5pm-9pm Monday to Saturday. Do I need to adopt these hours when reducing?

No, these requirements are for existing core opening hours.

My 100-hour pharmacy is open for 11 hours on a Sunday. Can I reduce the hours to 11am-4pm?

No, the total number of hours must remain the same on a Sunday. You must also remain open between 11am-4pm if you were already open during this time.

100-hour pharmacies cannot apply for rest breaks like 40-hour contracts can. Can I include a rest break when reducing my hours down to 72-hours?

Yes, 100-hour pharmacies can apply to include a rest break (or any other break between core opening hours) when applying to reduce core hours or when applying to rearrange opening core hours (subject to no rest breaks permitted between 5pm-9pm Mon-Sat, and the usual rest break requirements apply to any rest break between 11am -4pm on Sunday).



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