DSQS – the abbreviation you may have heard spoken within your Practice

New to the DSQS scheme? Then please see below for our brief overview. For a more in-depth introduction it would be worth considering booking onto our next DSQS Guidance tutorial, which is taking place on the 23rd March, 1-2pm!

DSQS – the abbreviation you may have heard spoken within your Practice
By Kirstye-Dispex Tutor

DSQS what is it, and what does it stand for?


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 and achieve all the standards, will receive a payment for each dispensing patient.

The scheme is voluntary and rewards organisations for providing high-quality services to dispensing patients. Practices have to sign up annually, by 30th June, via the CCG and provide the name of the GP in the practice who is accountable for the quality of dispensing services.

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 CCG 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 is currently March 31st 2022. The complete self-assessment form should also be submitted by this date to ensure full payment.

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 proced-ures. 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 DSQS audit.
  • Risk assessment.
  • A Significant Event Monitoring Procedure must be in place.
  • An annual review (DRUM) must take place of the medicines use for 7.5% of the dispensing list on January 1st 2022 .This has been reduced from the usual 10% for the second year running. Prioritise DRUMs for high risk patients or those that would most benefit from a review.
  • Assessment of performance against the criteria for payment.

Dispex understands the importance of your time and income, particularly at the busiest time of the General Practice year end. Therefore, we have a training tutorial covering all aspects of the 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 details of all of our training courses, including all of our new CPD accredited online training courses. With over 60+ hours of training we have you covered!