Pharmacies with high claims for pandemic delivery funding asked to ‘review’ them

The NHS Business Services Authority is "scrutinising" 44 community pharmacies for claims they have submitted as part of the COVID-19 pandemic delivery service.

Pharmacies that claimed more money “than might be expected” for providing the COVID-19 pandemic delivery service have been asked to re-examine their claims, the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) has told The Pharmaceutical Journal.

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) revealed that 44 community pharmacies were being “scrutinised” by NHS BSA for the claims they had submitted for the advanced service section of the pandemic delivery service.

The service was introduced in April 2020 as a two-part scheme to identify patients who were shielding because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and deliver prescription medicines to them.

Under the advanced service section of the scheme, pharmacies delivered medicines to the homes of eligible patients, sometimes on behalf of other pharmacies.

The PSNC said figures show that around 8,000 pharmacies provided the service between April and December 2020, at a cost of just under £15m.

Community pharmacies’ claims for reimbursement under the scheme are now being looked at by the NHS BSA using its post-payment verification process.

The PSNC said a “very small number” of claims were at a level that was higher than expected and that the NHS BSA has written to those pharmacies.

The NHS BSA said it was “seeking clarification” on the number of claims 44 pharmacies had made.

A spokesperson for NHS BSA told The Pharmaceutical Journal: “We’ve provided these contractors with information about the pandemic delivery service and asked them to review the claims they’ve made. We have not asked any contractors to send evidence to substantiate their claims at the moment.”

In its statement, the PSNC explained that the “high claims may be due, for example, to contractor error”, but added that “they may also be due to a pharmacy undertaking and claiming for the delivery of medicines dispensed by another pharmacy”.

“PSNC has been consulted on the proposed verification process and has sought to ensure the process is appropriately targeted, proportionate and fair to those contractors asked to provide records (as well as fair to the commissioner and public purse),” the statement continued.

Post-payment verification was introduced in 2017 for reimbursement for medicines use reviews carried out in community pharmacies. In 2018, the system was extended to cover the New Medicine Service and, in 2019, flu vaccination provision was included.

READ MORE: The medicines delivery service was a lifeline for our most vulnerable patients during the COVID-19 pandemic

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, May 2021, Vol 306, No 7949;306(7949)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.83921

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