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Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS)

About the scheme 

The Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS) forms part of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF). PQS is designed to support delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan and reward community pharmacies that deliver quality criteria in three quality dimensions: 

  • clinical effectiveness 

  • patient safety 

  • patient experience 

PQS 2021/22 

If you’re participating in the PQS 2021/22, you will need to declare your performance against the quality domains on a day of your choosing during the declaration window.

Pharmacy contractors should note that the arrangements for claiming payment for PQS have been altered. The declaration window closed on 2 March 2022. Read about the changes to the determination on our website.

The total funding for PQS 2021/22 is £75 million. The funding will be divided between qualifying pharmacies based on the number of points you have achieved. Each point will be worth between £67.75 and £135.50. 

Payments will be made to all eligible contractors depending on the band you are placed in and how many domains you have declared you are meeting.  

If you fail to complete the gateway criteria, you would not be eligible for the PQS 2021/22. 

Declaration questions

The questions included in the 2021/22 PQS declaration are available for community pharmacy contractors to view ahead of making a declaration.

2021/22 PQS Declaration Questions (Word: 725KB)

Contractors should note that all the questions in the declaration relating to the Primary Care Networks (PCN) domain are stated in the document. However, when contractors come to make their declaration on the NHSBSA’s Manage Your Service (MYS) portal, contractors will be directed to the relevant questions for them to answer, depending on the answers given to the first three questions in the ‘Questions to establish your role’ section:

  1. Are you in a Primary Care Network area?
  2. Is there a Pharmacy PCN Lead in your area?
  3. Is the Pharmacy PCN Lead based at your pharmacy?

Aspiration payment declaration 

As with the previous year’s scheme, an aspiration payment declaration is planned for PQS 2021/22 whereby you can declare and indicate which domains you intend to achieve.  

The aspiration payment must be claimed between 9am on 4 October 2021 and 11:59pm on 29 October 2021 through our MYS portal.   

The aspiration payment is optional and not claiming it will not impact on your ability to claim payment for the PQS 2021/22.   

The aspiration payment for each domain is paid on the understanding that you will have made a declaration stating you have met the conditions of the relevant domains before 11:59pm on 25 February 2022. If you do not achieve the full amount of points you have claimed for, payment issued for the remainder will be reclaimed.

There is no requirement to have claimed for a previous PQS to claim an aspiration payment for PQS 2021/22.   

The maximum number of points you can receive an aspiration payment for is 70% of the number of points within your band. The maximum number of points available to a  pharmacy PCN lead differs from that of a non-PCN lead. 

The value of the point for the aspiration payment is set at £67.75, the minimum value of a point for the PQS 2021/22.   

Aspiration payments were paid to pharmacies that made a claim, on 1 December 2021.

Pharmacy bandings 

For the PQS 2021/22, the maximum number of points for each domain will be dependent on a banding system. This is based on your total prescription item volume for which a fee is paid between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021, and taken from the NHSBSA’s payment data. This better reflects the workload of meeting the PQS 2021/22 requirements for different contractors.

Pharmacy bandings (Excel: 185KB)

Primary Care Networks 

The 2019/20 and 2020/21 PQS incentivised community pharmacies in a PCN to agree a collaborative approach to engaging with their PCN. This is why you will now have a pharmacy PCN lead who will provide you with a single channel of communication with the PCN clinical director.  

If you are an identified pharmacy PCN lead, you should continue to engage with your PCN and work closely with key members of staff from other pharmacies in the PCN and the broader local system. Work together to discuss, understand and communicate how community pharmacies will support and deliver local improvement programmes for flu delivery, aligned to national priorities. 
Primary Care Network leads data (Excel: 108KB)

New Medicine Service (NMS) gateway criterion 

The aim of this gateway criterion is to ensure that all pharmacies taking part in the scheme meet all the terms of service requirements and are choosing to actively provide clinical support to patients by providing the NMS.  

In the past, you have been able to meet the Advanced Services gateway criterion requirement by demonstrating that you are offering the required Advanced Services. This year, PQS payments will only be made to those who have claimed payment for 20 completed NMS interventions (including the catch-up NMS) via our MYS portal between and including 1 April 2021 to 5 April 2022. This is to ensure that you are actively providing these services to patients.  

The MYS PQS declaration will be configured so that only those who meet this criteria, via FP34c month-end claims and prescriptions between these dates, are able to submit a declaration for PQS.  

Any claims for NMS received by us after 5 April 2022 will not be considered for the PQS gateway.Number of NMS consultations provided in prescription processing month (Excel: 1.2MB)

Community pharmacy antibiotic checklist

Contractors must have reviewed their current practice using the target antibiotic checklist, to provide tailored advice to patients and promote antibiotic awareness and stewardship. This review must be completed by 31 March 2022 and must be carried out over four weeks with a minimum of 25 patients; or up to eight weeks if the minimum number of patients is not achieved within four weeks.

The community pharmacy antibiotic spreadsheet shows the number of checklists a pharmacy has submitted via the Community Pharmacy Antibiotic Checklist data collection tool to PHE/UKHSA as of the 15 March 2022. 

Community pharmacy antibiotic checklist (Excel: 707KB)

Contractors who believe they have received more confirmation emails than shown in the dataset are asked to note that if the same email address was entered into the data collection tool twice, then duplicate confirmation emails will have been received. If the dataset shows that the minimum of 25 patients has not been reached, then the pharmacy should submit further forms at the earliest opportunity.

If you have any questions regarding the checklist, contact

Anticoagulant audit

Contractors must have completed the anticoagulant audit by the day of their declaration.

The information that needs to be submitted to NHS England and NHS Improvement is included in the audit document (see section 14. Annex: Oral Anticoagulant Safety Audit 2021/22) and must be reported using the NHSBSA SNAP survey which can be accessed via the MYS application until 31 March 2022.

Anticoagulant audit status report - 29 March 2022 (764KB)

Declaration data

February 2022 declaration data (CSV:534KB)February 2021 declaration data (CSV: 477KB)February 2020 declaration data (CSV: 533KB)February 2019 declaration data (CSV: 1.5MB)June 2018 declaration data (CSV: 2.4MB)November 2017 declaration data (CSV: 2.3MB)April 2017 declaration data (CSV: 2.2MB)

If you need to contact us 

Send any questions relating to the Pharmacy Quality Scheme to us by email at