Pharmacy Access Scheme

As part of the funding package, the DH is introducing the Pharmacy Access Scheme (PhAS), details of which are set out in the DH document “Community pharmacy in 2016/17 and beyond: The Pharmacy Access Scheme (PhAS)”. This is being set up with the aim of supporting the most-needed pharmacies to ensure that a baseline level of patient access is protected. Eligible pharmacies will receive an additional monthly payment on top of their usual fees and allowances for providing NHS Essential Services. The scheme will run from 1 December 2016 to 31 March 2018.

Pharmacies are eligible if all of the following apply:

  • They are more than a mile from the nearest pharmacy by road
  • They were on the pharmaceutical list on 1 September 2016
  • They are not in the top 25 per cent of pharmacies by dispensing volume

A list of the 1,356 eligible pharmacies has been published by the DH.

Eligible pharmacies will receive, on average, £11,600 in 2016/17 and £17,600 in 2017/18.

  • The exact payment received by each pharmacy will depend on the remuneration received by the pharmacy in 2015/16
  • The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) will calculate what the pharmacy’s remuneration would have been had the funding settlement remained the same, minus an efficiency saving of 1 per cent in 2016/17 and 3  per cent in 2017/18; it will then calculate what the pharmacy is expected to earn under the new fee structure, and pay the difference

Certain contractors who were not initially included on the list of pharmacies eligible for the PhAS may be eligible for a review. In order to qualify for a review, contractors must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Inaccuracies – for example, an incorrect calculation of the distance from the next pharmacy
  • Physical feature anomalies – such as a semi-permanent roadblock that increases the distance between two pharmacies to greater than one mile
  • “Near miss” pharmacies in areas of high deprivation

Applications for review will be accepted from 1 November 2016 and must be made within three months of the scheme start date (1 December 2016).

The NPA will continue to update these resources over the coming weeks and months.