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Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS)

The February 2020 Pharmacy Quality Scheme

The February 2020 PQS declaration window opened at 9am on Monday 3 February 2020 and will close at 11:59pm on Friday 28 February 2020. Submissions must be made using the our Manage Your Service (MYS) application.

As part of the PQS declaration, you'll be asked a list of gateway and quality criteria questions. You can download the full list of gateway and quality criteria questions (Excel: 28KB).

About the scheme

With the announcement of a five-year agreement for community pharmacy (2019/20 to 2023/24), NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with stakeholders to develop the new Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS) for 2019/20.

This service has built upon the success of the previous Community Pharmacy Quality Payments Scheme (QPS). This was introduced in December 2016 and formed part of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF). It rewarded community pharmacies for delivering quality criteria in:

  • clinical effectiveness
  • patient safety
  • patient experience

The new PQS continues this, and includes the declaration and supporting processes contractors use to show they meet the scheme’s requirements, helping to support the NHS Long Term Plan.

The aim of the scheme is to continue moving community pharmacy to a more integrated, service-focused function within the wider NHS system.

This will provide even safer, accessible healthcare to patients by incentivising:

  • risk management and patient safety
  • medicines safety through audits, complementing the Quality Outcomes Framework Quality Improvement scheme (QOF QI)
  • sickness prevention and the provision of important information to support patients and raise awareness where necessary
  • integration into Primary Care Networks (PCNs)
  • asthma reviews, making sure appropriate action plans are in place and referrals are made where necessary
  • improved updates to pharmacy profiles for real-time referrals and patient access 

Aspiration Payments

Contractors who received a payment for QPS 2018/19 are able to claim an aspiration payment, which is an advance on the PQS payment, to help with cash flow.

Aspiration payment claims

The declaration window to claim for an aspiration payment closed on Friday, 1 November 2019.

To be eligible for an aspiration payment, a pharmacy must have received payment for at least one of the June 2018 and February 2019 review points. The aspiration payment can only be paid under the same ODS code the pharmacy used in 2018/19.  This applies to both existing and new contractors, those either opening a new pharmacy or purchasing an existing pharmacy.

If a pharmacy made a declaration for the 2018/19 QPS, but had money recovered from them due to not achieving the gateway or quality criteria, any aspiration payment will be based on the amended number of points achieved.

The maximum aspiration payment is 70% of the average points achieved by a pharmacy across the two review points in the 2018/19 QPS. The value of a point for the aspiration payment is set at £64 for the 2019/20 PQS.

Contractors need to review the PQS requirements. They will then need to decide which quality criteria they will be able to meet at the February 2020 declaration period.

The aspiration payment will be paid to contractors on 29 November 2019.

Manage Your Service (MYS) application

Contractors must submit their February 2020 Pharmacy Quality Scheme declaration using the MYS application.

There are also longer-term benefits of MYS outside of the PQS.  These include the ability for contractors to:

  • submit pharmacy prescription batch submission forms
  • process referred-back and disallowed items
  • submit prescription image requests

Pharmacies can also request reports providing more visibility of claims made.

MYS access authorisation

Contractors registering their pharmacy for the first time should:

Contractors who have previously registered their pharmacy with MYS do not need to re-register.

Any issues with the user authorisation process can be reported to the MYS team by email at


When an MYS access authorisation form is submitted, user accounts will be created for each person named on it.

Each person will receive an email to their personal NHSmail address with an MYS registration link.

If the email is not received within 48 hours, or if you need any help, email the MYS team at

More information can be found on the MYS application page.

Process for validation of gateway criteria claims

Pre-payment validation is performed on the gateway criteria. This process enables contractors to be informed up front whether they have passed validation or if they are required to take corrective action to meet the gateway criteria before the payment is made.

Contractors are notified of the current status of the pre-payment validation of their gateway criteria when navigating to the PQS section of the MYS application. Those contractors who fail validation are not eligible to receive a PQS payment.

PQS datasets

The Provider Assurance team will publish datasets covering the following gateway criteria:

  • Advanced Services
  • NHSmail
  • NHS Website

The datasets provide contractors with an alternative way to check if their pharmacy is currently validated.

Datasets will be published every Friday from 4 October 2019 to 2 March 2020 with a two week gap between 27 December 2019 and 3 January 2020.

Each pharmacy’s standing with the gateway criteria is correct as of the date listed in the dataset.

Pharmacies should make sure they continue to meet the requirements of each criterion to remain validated.

28 February 2020 declaration data (Excel: 730KB)​​​​​

Distance Selling Pharmacies

Distance Selling Pharmacies (DSPs) do not, currently, have full NHS website entries; however work is ongoing to enable full profiles from 2020. NHS Digital will populate these profiles with the information that DSPs provide to the NHSBSA Provider Assurance Team. DSPs not taking part in the PQS will need to populate their profiles in 2020 when this becomes a requirement under the terms of service.

Download and complete the opening hours spreadsheet (Excel: 25KB).  All three tabs in the spreadsheet need to be completed. To switch between the tabs, select the buttons at the bottom of the Excel window.

If any contractors cannot open the form, contact the Provider Assurance team at

If you need to contact us

Send any questions relating to the Pharmacy Quality Scheme 2019/20 to us at