If you partake in ‘the Scheme’ don’t forget you need to sign up annually, by 30th June,
via your local ICB and provide the name of the GP in the practice who is accountable
for the quality of dispensing services.
What is DSQS?
Dispensary Services Quality Scheme (‘the Scheme’) came into effect in September
2006, and is part of the General Medical Services (GMS) change. The annual
Scheme rewards Practices for providing high quality services to their dispensing
patients. Practices which sign up to the Scheme annually (by the 30th June) and
achieve all the standards, will receive a payment for each dispensing patient.
How does it work?
The scheme is voluntary and rewards organisations for providing high-quality
services to dispensing patients.
Payment is based on the number of dispensing patients on your organisation’s
list on 1st January in the financial year to which the payment relates, your ICB
can help you retrieve this accurate information from NHS England (where relevant).
Dispensing patients are the patients for whom the organisation, or any practitioners
working for them, have consent to dispense under the NHS (Pharmaceutical Services)
Regulations 2005, or relevant sections of the GMS and PMS regulations. The payment
is still £2.58 per dispensing patient per financial year, and that hasn’t changed since
its inception. So, depending on your list size, is potentially a valuable source of income
and often supports other services within the practice.
It is wise to allow protected time to plan for your audit and audit outcomes to ensure these
are submitted by the deadline which will be March 31st 2024. The complete self-assessment
form should also be submitted by this date to ensure full payment.
What are the specification of requirements?
The specification of requirements for receiving dispensary services quality payments are set
out in the DSQS guidance, and includes the following information.
Overview of quality requirements The key quality requirements of the Scheme are:
- Duty of confidentiality-Is there evidence of staff training? There must be clear
practice policies including procedures on collection of medicines by a patient’s
friend or family for example.
- Dispensing staff must be appropriately trained and undertake continued training
with annual appraisals.
- Competency assessments must also be undertaken. Proof of training and relevant
professional certificates must be available for every member of your team. Ensure
you have scheduled appraisals to allow time before the deadline. For registered
technicians evidence of CPD and relevant registration must be available.
- Dispensers who work unsupervised must have at least 1,000 dispensing hours work
experience over the previous five years in a GP dispensary or community pharmacy,
and must be trained to a minimum level of Pharmacy Services NVQ level 2.
- Minimum levels of staff hours dedicated to dispensary services (minimum hours are
laid out in the front of the Drug tariff).
- Staff with a limited dispensing role must be given relevant training and a competency
assessment. Dispex have an online training course accredited by CPD for Prescription
Clerks. This course is also suitable for any member of staff that handles prescriptions or
prescription requests. Other suitable training for those new to dispensary or with a limited
- dispensing role would benefit from our online Introduction to Dispensing course.
- Standard Operating Procedures (‘SOPs’) which reflect good professional practice and
all dispensary procedures. SOPs must be reviewed and updated at least once every 12
months and whenever dispensing procedures are amended.
- An audit must be undertaken on a particular subject and re audited to show outcomes.
Topics will be suggested in the DSQS guidance but choose a topic most worthwhile for
your practice. Refer to the DSQS audit guidance for how to successfully undertake a
- Risk assessment.
- A Significant Event Monitoring Procedure must be in place.
- An annual review (DRUM) must take place of the medicines use for 10% of the dispensing
list on January 1st 2023 . (This may have changed in some areas, so speak to you ICB for final
confirmation). Prioritise DRUMs for high risk patients or those that would most benefit from a review.
- Assessment of performance against the criteria for payment.
How can Dispex Support our practice with DSQS?
We host 1 hour online tutorials covering all aspects of DSQS and DRUMS. This will ensure
you have clear guidance and support, and enable you to achieve the full payment, which is
invaluable to your practice. Please see our tutorial schedule for upcoming dates, as well as our
other training options, such as our in-house training sessions. Our training courses are open
to members and non-members, with discount for members!
Members’ can also access our online Dispensary SOP library, which includes a Risk Assessment
SOP and a template form!