Extension to the PQS deadline and removal of additional requirements

Extension to the PQS deadline and removal of additional requirements

The PSNC has reached an agreement with NHS England and Improvement (NHSE&I) and Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on some measures that will help ease some of the pressure on contractors this winter. 

The measures that have been agreed include:

  • An extension to the deadline for completing the work towards the PQS 2021/22 domains.  The declaration window will still be between 31st January and 25th February 2022, but contractors will have until 30th June 2022 to collate the evidence for completing the relevant PQS criteria.
  • Contractors are not required to complete the Community Pharmacy Patient Questionnaire for 2021/22.
  • Contractors are no longer required to complete the national clinical audit (on valproate) in 2021/22.
  • Contractors are also no longer required to complete a contractor-chosen audit in 2021/22.


The PSNC were trying to seek flexibility for contractors on holiday opening hours, but NHSE&I want to ensure pharmacies remain open for their contracted hours during the holiday period, to maintain services and patient access.

NHSE&I have stated that in specific areas, contractors can agree with NHSE&I pharmacy opening plan for pharmacies within their area which will ensure adequate patient access to pharmaceutical services.  This only applies to Boxing Day (Sunday 26th December 2021) and New Year’s Day (Saturday 1st January 2022) as these are not classed as bank holidays.  This will be for contractors who are seeking to close due to pandemic and workforce issues on these specific days, and applications will be considered by NHSE&I whilst maintaining fairness between contractors.  These specific areas are where finding a pharmacist may be difficult such as in some rural areas and is not as a general invitation to all contractors.

There is no agreed definition of an area, so in theory this could allow an arrangement between two pharmacies agreed by the NHSE&I regional team, or an arrangement between many pharmacies agreed by the NHSE&I regional team.  

Other measures that have been agreed are additional support for community pharmacies that are delivering the COVID-19 vaccination service to enable them to boost capacity if they are able to by extending opening hours or delivering COVID-19 vaccinations only.