Pharmacy Quality Scheme

Published on: 1st April 2021 | Updated on: 4th March 2024

The Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS) forms part of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF).

It supports delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan and rewards community pharmacy owners that achieve quality criteria in the three domains of healthcare quality: clinical effectiveness, patient safety and patient experience.

The Pharmacy Quality Scheme 2023/24

In 2023/24 there will be a reduced PQS, compared to the scheme originally planned last year. This means a reduced list of activities for pharmacy owners with a value of 60% of the originally planned PQS – £45m. The remainder of the PQS funding (the additional £30m) will be used as an alternative to reducing fees to help ensure that there is no over-delivery of fees in this financial year. As the reduced PQS contains a clinical audit, DHSC and NHSE have agreed to Community Pharmacy England’s request to remove the clinical governance requirement for contractors to undertake two clinical audits in 2023/24.

The decision to go ahead with a PQS this year without an urgent injection of extra funding is in contradiction of our warnings to Ministers that there is not enough money to pay for the current services and dispensing delivered by the sector; let alone for new activities to be rolled out. However, we do recognise the importance of some elements of the PQS to patients and the NHS, and the fact that the scheme continues to demonstrate pharmacy’s commitment to, and exceptional performance on, quality. We note the concessions that Ministers have made in response to our submissions – both in reducing the scope of the PQS to reduce the burden on pharmacy owners, and in avoiding a reduction in the SAF which was previously mooted. 

Overall, this is an improvement on their original position, safeguarding the funding for PQS and reducing the activity required, notwithstanding our belief that the funding and capacity constraints which apply to the whole sector mean the scheme is currently unaffordable. 

DHSC has published the full details of the PQS on the NHSBSA website, which will give pharmacy owners as much time as possible to consider whether they want to take part in this work. NHS England has also published guidance on the 2023/24 Scheme.

Community Pharmacy England’s position remains that we do not think pharmacy owners will have the capacity to take on additional services or work.  

Click on a heading below for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) are available on our PQS FAQs page.

Pharmacy Quality Scheme outcomes

Outcomes of the previous Schemes can be found on our PQS outcomes page.

Previous Schemes

Details about the previous Schemes can be found on our PQS – Archive page.

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