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NHS England and NHS Improvement and Primary Care Support England suspended market entry applications from 25 March 2020 to allow staff who work on these tasks to be redeployed to functions which have higher priority during the current pandemic. As part of its overall recovery plan to restore services paused during the lockdown, staff are now being returned to their Market Entry roles and resuming work to process applications.

As of 1 June 2020 it is expected that the full Market Entry function will be restored. However, it is likely that some applications will take longer than the current regulatory timescales to process as the Market Entry teams work through the backlog of applications.

Market Entry

Market Entry is the process by which pharmacies in England, whether a sole trader, partnership or body corporate, gain approval by NHS England to join the Pharmaceutical lists.

Pharmaceutical lists are maintained by NHS England. PCSE is responsible for processing market entry applications on behalf of NHS England.


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Need to make an application? 

If you are a sole trader or partnership, please follow the existing process, until early 2020, when the full PCSE Online Market Entry application service will be available to the whole Pharmacy community. Paper application forms for Market Entry and Fitness to Practise can be downloaded here. Follow our six easy steps to submission.

If you are a Body Corporate only and need to make an application, but have not yet been contacted to register for the new online service, please contact the Pharmacy Engagement Team at pcse.pharmacyengagement@nhs.net 

Check back here regularly for news on the next phase of the transformation of the Market Entry service. 

Visit the What’s Changing page to find out more about our transformation plans and see our News page for the latest updates.   

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New online Market Entry Applications  

Market Entry applications have always been paper-based. In a digital-age we want to provide you with a more efficient way to submit and track your applications. That's why we're introducing new, electronic services for Market Entry applications. 

PCSE Online is a web-based option for submitting Market Entry applications. The pharmaceutical community will be able to: 

  • Create a new application to join a pharmaceutical list 
  • Save a new application to review and edit prior to submission 
  • Check on the progress of an application 

PCSE Online requires mandatory fields to be completed and presents error messages for missing information and prevents submission until all required fields are completed. 

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What’s changing? 

Applicants will log into PCSE Online, using their email address and unique password to access the secure platform.  

The many paper-based forms for all types of application will be replaced by a simple to use online system, which will present the applicant options based on the current ownership status  Body Corporate, Partnership or Sole Trader. 

Whether the applicant is a Body Corporate adding additional premises or making a change to director(s), or a Sole trader setting up new premises or making a change to current service provision, the new online system will guide you through the correct application process.  

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When is the new system going live? 

We have worked with number of Body Corporates, who are the first to use the online service. Phase one went live the week commencing 18th November 2019.  

The Market Entry applications available to Pharmacy Body Corporates only (DACs not included) in phase one are: 

  • Change of ownership 
  • Distance selling 
  • Fitness to practise 
  • Current needs 
  • Future needs 
  • Change of location in the same Health and Wellbeing Board 

We will use their experiences and feedback to build on the launch of phase one, in preparation of the full roll out of all Market Entry application types to the whole Pharmacy community in March 2020 

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How to access the Market Entry service on PCSE Online 

Body Corporates using the system have a Market Entry user administrator set up in their organisation. The user administrator can set up and manage Market Entry applicant users within their organisation 

The applicant users can then log into PCSE Online to make a Market Entry application, review, edit or withdraw an application up until the point of submission, and also check on the status of an application.  

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6 easy steps for Market Entry applications


Step One – Completing an application form

Paper application forms for Market Entry and Fitness to Practise Applications can be downloaded here.

Alternatively, visit the NHS England website if you wish to download forms to:

  • Notify or apply for changes to opening hours
  • Notify of premises closures
  • Or, submit serious difficulty application forms for patients


Step Two – Submitting an application form plus fees

Once you have completed your form, applications should be sent, by post or email, to PCSE with any relevant application fee made payable to NHS Commissioning Board.

Legal guidance about the fees can be found here.

Further information about the cost of different applications can be found here.

Email: PCSE.marketentry@nhs.net

Post: Primary Care Support England, PO Box 350, Darlington, DL1 9QN


Step Three – Receipt and acknowledgement of application

Our Market Entry team will acknowledge receipt of your application by email. We will check your form has been completed properly and the correct fee is attached (where applicable) and will contact you if any information is missing.


Step Four – Referral to NHSE

We will then refer your Application to NHSE for their initial decisions regarding Deferral, acceptable Best Estimates and to approve any Interested Parties to be notified of the Application.


Step Five – Notification of Interested Parties (where applicable)

Where required we will notify Interested Parties of your application and allow 45 days for representations to be made. We will then circulate any representations for a further 14 days for comments. We then forward the application and accompanying information to NHSE to make a decision on the application.


Step Six – NHS England decision

Once NHS England informs us of the decision we will communicate that to the applicant by email or letter and any Interested Parties confirming any right of appeal and how to make an appeal.

The NHS (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013, require NHS England to endeavour to determine an application as soon as is practicable, and unless consideration is deferred or there is good cause for the delay:

  • Notifiable applications must be determined within four months
  • Non-notifiable applications must be determined within 30 days.

Notifiable applications are those offering:

To meet current or future needs that are included in the relevant pharmaceutical needs assessment (PNA), to secure current or future needs that are included in the relevant PNA, and unforeseen benefits.

They also include relocations that do not result in significant change, distance selling premises, combined changes of ownership and relocations that do not result in significant change, and consolidation applications.

The four month or 30-day clock starts on receipt of the application.  It stops if missing information and/or documentation is requested and only restarts once that has been provided, or where an applicant successfully requests a review of the requirement to provide missing information and/or documentation.  The clock will also stop where NHS England decides to defer the application, for example on fitness grounds or where it decides to undertake a controlled locality determination in connection with the application.

NHS England may take longer to determine an application where there is a delay in third parties providing information, for example referees fail to respond to a request for a reference.

Changes to Opening Hours

NHS England deal with changes to pharmacy opening hours, If you want to notify/apply for changes to opening hours (Chapter 36 annexes), please visit the NHS England website to find the form you need. 

You will find the following forms, to download, complete and send to the regional teams:

  • Annex 1 - Notification of opening hours on bank and public holidays
  • Annex 2 - Application to change core opening hours
  • Annex 7 - Notification of changes to supplementary opening hours
  • Annex 14 - Unplanned temporary suspension of services
  • Annex 15 - Planned temporary suspension of service

Find contact details of your regional team to submit your notification/application for changes to opening hours.

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Market Exit

The process of permanently closing a pharmacy is known as Market Exit, and it dealt with by NHS England.

To advise the regional team of a permanent closure of your pharmacy, please visit the NHS England website to download the Chapter 38 Annex 1 - Closure of premises notification. 

Complete the form and send it to your regional team. Find contact details of your regional team.

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Applicant FAQs

Contact the Pharmacy Engagement Team pcse.pharmacyengagement@nhs.net providing your name, organisation details and a contact telephone number.

A member of the team will get back to you as soon as possible.

The initial launch of PCSE online is for Body Corporate applications only.

Updates will be provided to all once we launch online application forms for the wider Pharmacy community, expected to be March 2020.

Ensure you are submitting the correct number, GPhC numbers are 7 digits long and all start with the number 2.

Please check the fields within the application for an error message - you cannot progress until all mandatory fields are completed.

Please ensure that you have completed all three tabs contained within this section, Applicant Representative, Director details and Superintendent details.

You must click save on each tab before then clicking on save and next to navigate to the next section of the application.

When adding a director and/or superintendent for the first time please enter “new” and press return. Please select <NEW> from the drop-down box and enter details accordingly.

You must also include any days on which you are closed and indicate these as such by selecting the days and the closed all day option, then click add time period, in order to complete this section.

There is functionality at the end of the application form to upload any further supporting documentation.

The most common reason that a document will not upload is because there is a full stop in the file name. 

This might be in the form of a date, for example, 02.01.2020 or to punctuate a name, e.g. Mr. Contractor Name Application.

Please save your file without any full stops. 

The maximum file size per individual document is 12 Mb. 

There is no limit to the number of documents you can upload. 

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