NHS Business Services Authority has now written to all pharmacies advising them if they are eligible for the Pharmacy Access Scheme (PhAS). We don't intend to go through all the scheme details in this post, but it is worth bearing in mind that the NHS can get it wrong and the review process is there to enable contractors to challenge incorrect decisions. The NHS is keen to stress that other than incorrect mapping, the only other ground for a review is "physical feature anomalies", but that leaves contractors wondering what is and is not an anomaly.

We have started work on these reviews for clients even though the window for submitting a review application does not open until January 2022. It is important to have your research completed well before the review window opens as it can take time to gether the necessary evidence.

In one of our cases we reviewed the mapping provided by the NHS and found that the route used to measure the shortest distance to the nearest 2 pharmacies would involve a patient having to walk through an industrial estate. In some cases that might not matter, but this industrial estate has a gate at one end which is only open when the industrial estate is open and a gate at the other end which is permanently closed and blocks entry or exit to pedestrians and car users. The NHS mapping assumes that the gate is open and can be used by pedestrians and is therefore incorrect.

In another application we are looking at a "steep hill", but what is "steep"? Just because the contractor thinks it is steep doesn't mean the NHS will agree. Again, it is important to gather evidence and ensure that the evidence is relevant.

If you would like more information please feel free to contact us.