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additional paymentsMarch 25 2015

NHS England is to make an additional payment to pharmacy contractors in March payments, PSNC has announced. In addition, changes to the Drug Tariff for April will see an increase in the Practice Payment but also in the threshold to access Practise and Establishment Payments.

PSNC says the additional money in the March payments will be calculated at 3.3p for each professional fee paid from April 2014 to December 2014. It is estimated that this could average additional income of around £2,000 per pharmacy.

“This additional fee is paid in recognition of the reduction in margin available to contractors in the early months of this financial year,” says PSNC.

“As part of the 2014-15 community pharmacy contractual framework it had been agreed that pharmacies would be allowed to retain £800 million of margin income and, whilst the final outcome of the margin survey will not be known until later in this calendar year, early analysis indicates that this total is unlikely to be reached.”

NHS England agreed a joint statement with PSNC, stating: “It remains our intention to smooth the delivery of funding to community pharmacy contractors as much as possible. This additional fee has been agreed in light of the predicted under delivery of margin in 2014-15.”

From April, the Practice Payment will increase by 4.4p an item from 49.1p to 53.3p, with bandings applied. However, there will also be an increase of around 2.9% in the thresholds governing access to the Practice and Establishment Payments.

PSNC also points out that there was a cut in the Practice Payment of approximately 17p per item in November 2014 “to ensure delivery of the agreed £2 billion fees and allowances in the 2014-15 financial year.”

The 4.4p increase from April “rebalances this and is designed to ensure smooth delivery of funding in the coming year. It will be reviewed once a funding settlement for 2015-16 has been agreed.”

Establishment payments from April 1 will be based on prescription item numbers, starting at 2,500 a month. The payments will be paid monthly under the following bandings:

•    2,500 - 2,829 items a month generates an annual establishment payment of £23,278
•    2,830 -3,149 items a month generates an annual establishment payment of £24,190
•    3,150 or more items a month generates an annual establishment payment of £25,100.

“The increase in threshold for both payments recognises the increases in prescription volumes that have been seen in England. It is in line with the routine annual increases that were made as part of funding settlements agreed from 2006 until the NHS reforms,” says PSNC.

Where prescription volumes vary monthly, meaning contractors move between Practice or Establishment Payment bands, the arrangements remain unchanged. PSNC’s website provides top-up payment resources and template claim forms.

Links:

PSNC statement on additional March payment    

PSNC announcement on April Drug Tariff changes    

PSNC Practice Payment and Establishment Payment Top Ups    

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