(main source of information included in this text was taken from PSNC website)
On 20th October 2016, as part of the two-year final funding packing imposed upon community pharmacies in England, the Department of Health confirmed the introduction of a Pharmacy Access Scheme (PhAS), with the stated aim of ensuring that a baseline level of patient access to NHS community pharmacy services is protected. The Department of Health states that the PhAS will protect access in areas where there are fewer pharmacies with higher health needs, so that no area need be left without access to NHS community pharmaceutical services.
Qualifying pharmacies will receive £11,600 in 2016/17 and £17,600 in 2017/18 meaning those pharmacies will not feel the full effect of the reduction in funding from December 2016. At this point, the payments are guaranteed for 2 years but after 31st March 2018, it is not clear yet what will happen with this scheme.
Eligibility for the PhAS
Pharmacies do not need to apply to the scheme to be eligible; eligibility has been calculated nationally by the Department of Health, based on data relating to how many prescription items a pharmacy dispensed in 2015/16, to assess their size and data relating to the distances between pharmacies.
A pharmacy will be eligible for the PhAS if it meets all of the following three criteria:
- the pharmacy is more than a mile away from its nearest pharmacy (measured by road distance);
- the pharmacy is on the pharmaceutical list as at 1 September 2016; and
- the pharmacy is not in the top 25% largest pharmacies by dispensing volume.
Applying these criteria means that 1,356 pharmacies qualify for the PhAS and these can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/561498/List_of_pharmacies_A.pdf
The scheme will run from 1 December 2016 to 31 March 2018. During this time, eligibility will be fixed to the pharmacies that are deemed eligible in the list published on 20 October 2016.
For more information about the scheme please click on the following link:
If you are not on the list but feel that you have narrowly missed the governments criteria or have special circumstances that should be considered, a review process has been included. For more information about this and for an application form visit http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/PrescriptionServices/5827.aspx
If you are interested to know how the PhAS might impact on your pharmacy’s goodwill value or would like to discuss any of the above in more detail, then please contact either Anne Hutchings or Scott Hayton on 01494 722 224.