In Member News
APTUK welcome the announcement of a Pharmacy First service to be launched in England, along with the expansion of the existing blood pressure and contraception services. Pharmacy technicians in community pharmacies are well placed to support the delivery of these services, which will ensure greater access to clinical care for patients in community pharmacies. It is also a recognition of community pharmacy teams as the valuable embedded local healthcare resource for communities they have always been; community pharmacies are integral to reducing health inequalities.
For more details please see the letter to contractors on the the DHSC website. The letter sets out the increasingly important clinical role of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in offering timely access to NHS services.
Pharmacy First will launch on 31 January 2024, subject to the appropriate digital systems being in place to support these services. This will be a new advanced service that will include 7 new clinical pathways for treating common conditions as well as urgent repeat medicines supply and referrals for a clinical consultation for minor illness, replacing the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS).
Pharmacy First will enable community pharmacists to offer a clinical assessment to patients and supply NHS medicines (including some prescription-only medicines under Patient Group Directions (PGDs)), where clinically appropriate, to treat 7 common health conditions.
DHSC, CPE and NHSE have also agreed that from 1 December 2023 the Pharmacy Contraception Service and Blood Pressure Check Service will be expanded. Once pharmacies are signed up, women will be able to walk into their local pharmacy to receive a clinical consultation from a pharmacist – either to be supplied contraception for the first time or to receive their next supply. Pharmacies will also deliver an additional 2.5 million blood pressure checks a year by Spring 2025.
In both services, it will also be possible to use the wider non-registered pharmacy team members where staff have the appropriate training and are competent to deliver the service.
Pharmacies will have access to more parts of the GP record (medications, observations, and investigations) and use a new Pharmacy First consultation record to capture the consultation which will then send automatic structured updates to the GP record and to the NHSBSA to support payments and reporting on the service.