Spot checks confirming that community pharmacists have carried out medicine use reviews (MURs) have been extended to a second advanced service, with another likely to follow later this year, it has emerged.
Since October 2017, a number of contractors, selected at random, have been asked provide evidence that they have carried out an MUR as part of a new scrutiny regime introduced by the NHS Business Authority on behalf of NHS England.
In January 2018 the post-payment verification (PPV) system was extended to the New Medicine Service provided by community pharmacists in England.
There are now indications that PPV, which requires community pharmacies to provide paperwork proving that they have provided a specific service, will be brought in later this year for community pharmacists who provide flu vaccinations as part of the national immunisation programme.
National negotiators, who agreed to the PPV moves following talks with NHS England and the NHS Business Authority last year, predicted, but could not confirm, that the same system will be introduced for seasonal flu payments.
A spokeswoman for the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said: “We know that that is under consideration. This sort of system [PPV] already exists for margins payments where the checks apply to how much pharmacists are being paid for medicines. It’s just another part of contractual requirements.”
NHS England introduced the national PPV system for MURs because it felt that the previous system — which relied on local NHS England teams checking that payment claimed reflected work carried out — was inconsistent owing to lack of resources.
Under the new system, which is managed by the NHS Business Authority, a selection taken at random of community pharmacists are requested to submit their signed patient consent forms that correspond to payments for MURs.
The expectation was that the new standardised system would be better able to identify any issues arising around advanced service payments and help resolve any problems with individual contractors, the PSNC told The Pharmaceutical Journal last year.
There were worries at the time the new system was announced, that the increased scrutiny would fuel existing distrust between contractors, NHS England and the government.
But PSNC confirmed this week that PPV was not proving to be an issue for contractors: “We aren’t aware that any contractors have been irritated by PPV,” the spokesperson said.
NHS England could not provide comment before this article was published.