The Organisation Data Service (ODS) code is the unique identifying code used by the NHS for various purposes, including supporting national NHS IT systems, such as EPS. Most NHS providers have an ODS code and for pharmacies, it is a five-character code beginning with the letter F. It appears at the top of the pharmacy’s schedule of payments monthly document that is received from the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA). It has previously been known as OCS, NACS or F codes.
If your pharmacy’s ODS code is changed or deactivated, the following are affected:
• NHSBSA payments to the contractor;
• connectivity to NHS Services, e.g. use of EPS, allocation of Summary Care Record (SCR) accesses etc.;
• EPS patient nomination settings and the eRD (Electronic Repeat Dispensing service) cycle;
• NHS Smartcards need updating by the Registration Authority (RA);
• NHS website (previously NHS Choices) listing of the pharmacy; and,
• your pharmacy PMR system.
Planning well in advance of the change, by the contractor, the PMR system supplier and the NHS, is necessary to avoid disruption to patients, services and your payments.
A new ODS code may be required when:
• a new pharmacy opens;
• there is a change of (legal) ownership, where the contractor buys out a business on a non-debts and liabilities basis (i.e. the outgoing contractor requires payment for all items dispensed up to the date of sale and existing debts and liabilities remain with the outgoing contractor); or
• a pharmacy relocates (this may not be the case for a ‘no significant change’ or short distance relocation) – the local NHS England team will determine whether a new code is required.
An ODS code ceases to be ‘active’ if:
• a pharmacy closes and ceases to provide services; or
• a contractor closes and/or ceases to provide services as part of a Regulation 26A consolidation.
The existing ODS code should be retained (i.e. a new ODS code should NOT be required) when there is a:
• ‘no significant change’ or short-distance relocation of the pharmacy – the local NHS England team will determine whether a new code is required;
• change of ownership of the equity of the business (e.g. shares), where the purchaser (new contractor) buys out the existing (contractor) company including debts, liabilities and/or access to bank account – this may result in a change of company name or trading name;
• change to the contractor’s company registered name (e.g. from a sole proprietor to a limited company);
• change to the contractor’s company trading name or telephone number; or
• remaining contractor in a Regulation 26A consolidation – the remaining contractor may be at the remaining pharmacy or may be the contractor moving premises (whose pharmacy is closing);
• change to the boundary of a contractor’s NHS England local office, resulting in the pharmacy being in a different NHS England area.
The local NHS England team requests a change or deactivation of an ODS code to the NHSBSA; the NHS Digital ODS team implement the change.
Community pharmacy contractors who no longer wish to provide NHS services from their NHS pharmacy premises must provide their local NHS England team with adequate notice.
Generally, contractors must give at least 3 months’ notice to the local NHS England team in advance of the date on which they intend to cease providing pharmaceutical services.
The exception is for contractors with 100 core hours in which case six months’ notice is required.
PSNC recommend that contractors notify the local NHS England team by e-mail and/or by letter via recorded delivery. This is to provide an audit trail so that there is proof that notification was sent to the local NHS England team.
The email address of the local team in the West-Midlands:
There are other key considerations when deciding whether to close a NHS pharmacy or not and contractors should contact their trade association such as the NPA for further guidance and resources.