All Things Finance FAQs

ATF

Will the activity payment be a set number for each pharmacy, or will it be dependent on current activity/volume?

The activity payment will vary from month to month and will be derived from the pharmacy’s activity in relation to the overall national activity.  It is critical that all consultation activity is recorded so that the pharmacy team’s hard work is recognised properly.

Where will the money come from for the supply of medicines under the new service? Currently GPs see MAS as a mechanism to reduce their prescribing budget, e.g. asking a patient to get paracetamol on MAS when they could have prescribed it alongside the ant

As we currently understand, the reimbursement will be associated to the patient’s GP practice. However, we would encourage you to focus on the patient and treat these situations as normal consultations, using professional judgement as to whether a supply should take place or not.

Similarly, when an Optometrist refers a patient where would the funding come from? Would it be appropriate to supply a specific product?

As we currently understand, the reimbursement will be associated to the patient’s GP practice. We would encourage you to focus on the patient and treat these situations as normal consultations, using professional judgement as to whether a supply should take place or not. In several areas, there are established optometry referral pathways as some optometrists are able to diagnose but not supply on the NHS – it would seem a backward step to stop this type of referral and the approved list of products has been designed to include certain eye preparations for this specific reason.

With the additional monies being put into the recruitment of GP Pharmacists are there any moves from Scottish Government to invest in community pharmacy teams to recognise the increase in workload?

Scottish Government have already demonstrated their commitment to investing in the service based on the £10m over 3 years they have agreed to add into the service. The rest is down to individual employers. The impact on a company’s bottom line will not be known for some time. This is one of many steps to creating an exciting clinical role in community pharmacy with the potential to drive recruitment and retention, with the next being the spread of independent prescriber-led common clinical conditions services. This may encourage employers to increase their pay rates, but it will still require pharmacists to make the service work to increase their employer’s overall income.

We are one of the few professions to offer our advice for free. Is there a danger that this service will continue to erode our OTC sales?

Evidence would suggest that, broadly speaking, pharmacy sales of medicines have been in decline for many years due to GSL availability through other outlets and the proliferation of online pharmacies. However, interestingly this may be an opportunity to grow OTC sales. For example, where a patient indicates that they want a branded medication which is not on the NHS Pharmacy First Scotland approved list. What is important to remember is that where the pharmacy team have assessed presenting symptoms and recommended a course of action (advice, supply or referral), a pharmacy first consultation can be recorded.

Will each activity be paid at the same rate?

Advice/referral/simple supply will all be paid the same at a weighting of one. Supply against a PGD will likely attract a weighting of three. This will all be captured and calculated automatically through UCF.

Will activity payments change month on month?

Yes. This has yet to be finalised, but as the service is recorded through UCF, we have been assured that contractors will be paid in line with their activity from month to month, 2 months in arrears.

Will activity payments for more complex interventions e.g. UTI be weighted as they take more time?

Yes, activity which is more complex and requires pharmacist intervention will carry more weight than ‘standard’ consultations.

Will there be additional funding for hardware?

No, there will be no specific funding made available for this.

Are we leaving ourselves open to fraud or misuse by the public?

NHS Counter Fraud Services and Payment Verification will monitor the service, as they do any other. For pharmacy teams, unless there is an intention to behave fraudulently, there is no need to worry. For the patients you will undertake consultations for, unless there is a clinical concern over their use of the service, again there is no need to be concerned.

What is there to protect against healthcare tourists coming across the border?

As the service is focused on the treatment of minor illness, it is unlikely that it will attract a great deal of inappropriate healthcare tourism.