Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS) – just weeks to go
There is less than a month to go before the window opens for
community pharmacy contractors to make a declaration for a PQS
payment. Contractors must use the NHS Business Services Authority
(NHSBSA) ‘Manage Your Service’ portal to make a PQS declaration
between 3 February and 28 February. On the day of making their
declaration, contractors will be required to declare that that they
meet the four gateway criteria and that they meet the domains they
are claiming payment for (except if they plan to meet the Sugar
Sweetened Beverage quality criterion by 31 March).
Primary Care Network Leads
To ensure that community pharmacy is embedded into the work
of PCNs as quickly as possible, Pharmacy PCN Leads need to be
appointed as soon as possible. Contractors need to make a PQS
payment claim between 3 February and 28 February; contractors
therefore need to have the information on the PCN, the name of the
lead and the pharmacy name and ODS code of the pharmacy where
they are based by 2 February 2020 at the latest.
Serious Shortage Protocol (SSP) for haloperidol (England and Wales)
An SSP for haloperidol (Serenace) 500-microgram capsules came
into effect 23 December 2019 with a scheduled expiry date of 23
March 2020. Under the SSP, when presented with prescriptions for
haloperidol 500-microgram capsules, pharmacists can instead supply
haloperidol 500 microgram tablets. For more information read NPA’s
advice on p50.
Dry January campaign
As part of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework
(CPCF), the Dry January campaign is a mandatory campaign
that all contractors in England must participate in. Pharmacy
contractors should have received resources for the campaign on
31 December 2019. Dry January calendars must be displayed and
can be provided to patients to use.
Pharmacy contractors are also encouraged to use digital resources
that can be used on social media, emails etc. If you have not received
campaign materials, you should email email@example.com
stating the pharmacy name, F-code, address and name of the campaign.
ALSO THIS MONTH
Read the NPA’s membership brochure
The turn of the year is traditionally a time to refl ect on the past and
to resolve to make changes for the future. Some people will take
small steps, others will attempt to adopt radically different mindsets,
behaviours and activities. Whatever changes you may wish
to make in your community pharmacy, you can be certain that the
NPA stands ready to help you, with practical advice and support. So
please make the most of your NPA membership in 2020! Take a look
at our membership brochure to ensure you’re not missing out on
any part of what we offer. If you are not already an NPA member,
why not talk to us how about how we can help?
Call 01727 795914 to get things rolling.
Healthy living pharmacy (HLP) leadership training -
Thursday 16 January
Places are filling fast for our interactive face-to-face workshop at
Mallinson House, St. Albans on Thursday 16 January 9.30am – 1pm.
This leadership training is suitable for anyone with management or
supervisory responsibilities in a community pharmacy, not only for
pharmacy contractors looking to achieve HLP Level 1 status. Places
available on a first-come, first-served basis - Call 01727 800 402 or
NPA member forums: Birmingham, London and
Stay up to date with upcoming forum events that are regularly
hosted throughout the year, discussing policy, business and practice
topics important to our members. The next forum will take place on
Manchester on 22 January. These events are free for NPA members.
To book your place go to www.npa.co.uk/npa-forums
Engaging with primary care
networks – begin your PCN
The NHS long-term plan outlines a 10-
year strategy for the NHS and promises
to make more of the clinical skills of
Primary care networks - multidisciplinary
NHS structures based on populations of 30-
50,000 people - are intended to be a driving
force for delivery of the long-term plan.
They will have billions of pounds to invest in
To put it frankly, if community
pharmacies want a piece of the action,
they need to engage with PCNs and
offer value-for-money solutions to meet
locally identifi ed needs. These could
include services supporting urgent care,
patient safety, medicines optimisation and
prevention, depending on the priorities of
the local PCN.
The Pharmacy Quality Scheme in the new
community pharmacy contract incentivises
you to make a start – points are available
for pharmacies that between them
nominate a pharmacy PCN lead for their
area. The pharmacy PCN lead will act as a
single channel of communication between
the network and local pharmacies. Your
local pharmaceutical committee will be
supporting this process.
If you haven’t already reached out to your
LPC to discuss how PCN leads are being
recruited please do so now! Please also
take 10 minutes to watch the brief video
message we have created to explain the
importance of PCNs as we move ahead in
2020 – go to: youtu.be/n32FL1oc-QQ
We urge you to take an active interest
in who should be your local lead. Or even
talk to your LPC about stepping up to that
role yourself. This PQS criterion is very
signifi cant: it’s about building a foundation
for future integrated working with your
local NHS, without which community pharmacy
cannot hope to thrive. It’s about
your own professional and commercial
success and it’s about your local community
benefi ting from all that community
pharmacy has to offer.
Role of the pharmacy PCN lead
The role of the pharmacy PCN lead is crucial
as a single channel of communication with
a PCN. He or she should be able to lead
the development and implementation of a
collaborative approach to engaging with the
PCN, working together with key pharmacy
team members from other pharmacies
aligned to the PCN. The lead is also
expected to work closely with other relevant
individuals including pharmacy PCN leads
and clinical leaders of other primary care,
health and social care providers.
The NPA wishes to see independent
community pharmacy effectively represented
across the 1,259 PCNs in England. We
encourage you to put yourself forward for
your local PCN lead roles because we want
to see a signifi cant share of the available
posts occupied by independents.
To further support you, as you action your
PQS-PCN plans and in your considerations
to step up to be a PCN lead, please connect
with our NPA Local Integration Lead,
Michael Lennox via M.firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information go the NPA
website and search for ‘PCN.’
NPA PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND ADVICE
Pre-registration pharmacist advice
Sureena Clement, Learning and
Development Pharmacist at the NPA,
shares her top tips for pre-reg students.
NPA Learning Academy
Make sure to make the full use of NPA’s
Learning Academy - every month we
upload additional calculations, quizzes and
homework. The structure of our pre-reg
course is known as blended learning. This
includes face-to-face training study days,
webinars, as well as the content uploaded
on to the Learning Academy. Therefore,
to really make use of your year and the
resources at your fi ngertips, make sure
you complete the activities and cover
the content on the Learning Academy.
The same applies with the pre-work – to
maximise your study day ensure you cover
the pre-work content before attending
your study day.
The time after the week 13 progress review
is the occasion to have a discussion with
your tutor regarding your progress and
their expectations of you, as well as giving
you an opportunity to demonstrate how
many of your competencies can already
be ticked off. It is also a chance for you to
tell your pharmacist which areas you feel
you need more support in. You are still
learning, so don’t feel disheartened if you
feel as though you aren’t making progress
at the desired speed. Ultimately, it’s not
a race, so focus on the strengths that
you have and take this as your chance to
improve and showcase your ability.
You may want to arrange work experience
within another clinical setting during your
pre-reg year (with the permission of your
tutor). This is a good way to broaden your
understanding of the role pharmacists can
have in different environments as well as a
great way to network with other healthcare
professionals. Examples of this include
hospitals, diabetes clinics, asthma clinics and
GP practices. Bear in mind your tutor may
want you to use your annual leave in order
to do this or you may be able to swap with
another student in the setting you would
like experience in.
Effective ways to revise at work
On the Learning Academy we have
produced a presentation of hints and tips
on how to effi ciently revise whilst you’re at
work. Make sure to take a look at this as it
also includes which calculators are allowed
to be brought into the exam and the style in
which questions should be answered.
For more information go to www.npa.co.uk/training
or call 01727 800 402.
Supplying Controlled Drugs as an emergency supply
Pharmacy teams are reminded of the strict rules that apply to
the supply of controlled drugs (CDs) under emergency supply
legislation - including under services such as CPCS.
• The only Schedule 3 CDs that may be supplied in an emergency
are phenobarbital and phenobarbital sodium for the treatment of
epilepsy; all other schedules 1, 2 and 3 CDs are not permitted to
be supplied in an emergency. This includes gabapentin, pregabalin
(including when they are being used to treat epilepsy) and
• Emergency supplies of phenobarbital or phenobarbital sodium for
the treatment of epilepsy and Schedule 4 or 5 CDs are restricted
to a maximum of fi ve days treatment.
Emergency supplies of prescription-only medicines (POMs) are
governed by Chapter 3 of The Human Medicines Regulations
2012. This legislation also allows for emergency supplies to be
made to patients under services such as the Community Pharmacy
Consultation Service (CPCS). The rules for emergency supply of
POMs under such services are therefore the same.
Pharmacists and pharmacy teams may receive referrals requesting
Schedule 2 and 3 CDs though the urgent medicines supply strand
of CPCS. At the time of the referral, NHS 111 call advisors do not
assess whether or not the supply will be legal or appropriate for
the patient. Where a referral has been made and the pharmacist is
satisfi ed that there is an immediate need for the Schedule 2 or 3 CD
• Refer the patient to their own general practice.
• Contact the local GP out-of-hours on the patient’s behalf to agree
a solution and where appropriate ensure the patient is contacted
by another relevant healthcare professional.
The NPA Pharmacy Services team has published legal and practical
guidance for the emergency supply of POMs to support pharmacy
teams. Go to the NPA website for more information.
Domperidone – change in licensed age groups and
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
issued a drug safety update which states that, domperidone is no
longer licensed to treat nausea and vomiting in children under 12
years and those who weigh less than 35kg due to its lack of effi cacy
in these patient groups. Domperidone is now only licensed in adults
and children aged over 12 years and who weigh 35kg or more.
Pharmacists should read the MHRA drug safety update
which covers this and other important patient safety aspects of
domperidone which include:
• Reminder of contraindications, for example use in patients who
have liver impairment or underlying heart disease and known preexisting
QT interval prolongation
• Reminder of recommendations on maximum daily dose and
duration of treatment – use at the lowest effective dose for the
shortest length of time possible
• Further information on lack of domperidone effi cacy in children
aged under 12 years.
For further information please contact the NPA Pharmacy
Services team on 01727 891 800 or email email@example.com
Whistleblowing: Is dismissal automatically unfair if the
real reason was concealed from the decision-maker?
When making the decision to dismiss,
it’s important to have all the facts. But
what happens if a manager deliberately
creates a false narrative around the
dismissal, and the decision maker acts
on this basis?
Royal Mail Group Ltd v Jhuti
The claimant in this case, Ms Jhuti,
approached her line manager with
concerns that a colleague was breaching
Ofcom regulations and company rules.
However, rather than investigate the claims,
the manager fabricated a performance
management problem, and a different
manager, who didn’t realise that these issues
were an invention, subsequently dismissed
Ms Jhuti for poor performance.
Ms Jhuti brought claims to an Employment
1. Automatically unfair dismissal. Under
Section 103A of the Employment Rights
Act (ERA) 1996, an employee is regarded
as having been automatically unfairly
dismissed if the principal reason for
the dismissal is the making of a
protected disclosure – a disclosure that
relates to certain categories of serious
2. Detriment on the ground that she
had made a protected disclosure.
Section 47B(1) of the ERA states that a
worker has the right not to be subjected
to any detriment by any act, or any
deliberate failure to act, by his employer
done on the ground that the worker has
made a protected disclosure.
The Tribunal upheld the second part of
Ms Jhuti’s claim in view of the detrimental
treatment she had received from her
manager as a direct result of her disclosure.
However, in order to determine whether
the dismissal was unfair, the Tribunal
had to identify what the real reason
for dismissal was: performance, as the
dismissing manager genuinely believed,
or revenge for whistleblowing, the
This was contested through various
stages of appeal, with the case
eventually making its way to the
Supreme Court. Ultimately, the court
concluded that by section 103A,
Parliament had clearly intended to
provide that, where the real reason
for dismissal was whistleblowing, the
automatic consequence should be a
fi nding of unfair dismissal. Despite the
decision maker acting in good faith,
the real reason for dismissal was in
fact the protected disclosure made by
What does this mean for
The Supreme Court acknowledges
that this is an extreme case; it is rare
to fi nd such an obvious example of a
line manager deliberately manipulating
a situation in order to engineer the
dismissal of one of their team.
However, it reinforces the need to
deal with whistleblowing complaints
properly and thoroughly. Managers
need to be trained on how to respond
in these situations and ideally a
whistleblowing policy will exist, giving
clear reporting lines to a designated
senior manager who can oversee
complaints of that nature.
Facing a difficult problem?
To discuss your situation with a
professional and receive clear,
pragmatic advice, contact the NPA
Employment Advisory Service on
0330 123 0558 or email
Serious Shortage Protocol –
The Department of Health and Social
Care (DHSC) advised in December that
- following a supply disruption alert
aimed at primary care practitioners for
haloperidol 500 microgram capsules - a
Serious Shortage Protocol (SSP) for
haloperidol (Serenace) 500 microgram
capsules received ministerial approval.
The SSP came into effect on 23 December
2019 and is scheduled to expire on 23
Under the SSP, when presented with
prescriptions for haloperidol 500 microgram
capsules, pharmacists can instead supply
haloperidol 500 microgram tablets.
The NHS Business Services Authority
(NHS BSA) and NHS England Improvement
(NHSEI) emailed all pharmacy and GP
contractors to alert them to the introduction
of the SSP. Further information is available
from the NHS BSA website, including the
Here is a summary of recommended
actions to prepare for dispensing in
accordance with an SSP:
• Ensure that all staff, including locums,
who will be involved in dispensing an item
in accordance with an SSP are trained and
competent to do so.
• Ensure that an SSP Standard Operating
Procedure (SOP) is in place and other
relevant SOPs are updated, read,
understood, signed and implemented
by all members of the pharmacy team
involved in service delivery.
• Ensure that the pharmacy team know
where they can find new SSPs and/or
changes to an existing SSP.
• Ensure that the pharmacy has access to
an NHSmail account so that it can receive
notifi cation when an SSP is issued.
• Ensure that the pharmacy has access
to the NHS Summary Care Record as
NPA professional indemnity insurance
will cover NPA members, customers (and
the pharmacists they employ/engage) when
supplying medicines/appliances under
the relevant enabling legislation and the
SSPs which apply. It is acknowledged that
pharmacists will be expected to exercise
professional judgement to determine the
appropriateness of making each supply.
The NPA has produced a template
SOP and guidance resource to support
pharmacists and pharmacy teams in
ensuring compliance with relevant
requirements when supplying medicines or
appliances under an SSP.
These resources are available to access from
the NPA website: www.npa.co.uk/information-and-guidance/
Contact the NPAfor further information
and advice on 01727 891800, or email