A number of community pharmacies in England have been chosen to offer contraceptive pill checks as part of a pilot scheme from NHS England.
The tier 1 pilot aims to test a “model for community pharmacy teams to continue the supply and management” of NHS patients taking oral contraception.
It is hoped that the service will create more capacity in primary care and sexual health clinics and improve access for patients but it is not a replacement for local authority commissioned services.
The objectives of the pilot are to:
- test a model for community pharmacy teams to continue, review and supply the provision of contraception supplies initiated in primary care or sexual health clinics
- test an integrated pathway between existing services and community pharmacies to allow people greater choice and access when considering continuing their current form of contraception
- create better access to services and support for high-risk communities and vulnerable patients
- identify a data set that should be shared with the community pharmacy to support the referral process and feedback loop to the GP-held patient record where appropriate (with relevant consent)
- evaluate the tier 1 service model exploring the experience of service users, pharmacy staff and primary care and sexual health professionals and the preferred care model of the service within community pharmacy
RPS welcomes contraceptive pilot
“We are pleased that the pilot will improve access to contraception and sexual health services and, as medicines experts, pharmacists are well placed to deliver this service and support the public with healthcare advice, said Thorrun Govind, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Pharmacy Board.
“People seeking this support for contraception can be assured that pharmacists are trained to deliver contraceptive services, as seen recently with the move to offer a progestogen-only pill over the counter at pharmacies.
“The public will be able to visit a pharmacy without an appointment and receive support and advice from a trained professional, whilst also reducing pressure on general practice and the NHS.”
The scheme started on Thursday, September 30 and will run for a year with the possibility of extension.
Currently it is being piloted in selected primary care networks (PCNs) in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw; NE Lincolnshire; Hull CCGs within Humber, Coast and Vale; Cumbria and NE; Lancashire and South Cumbria; Suffolk and NE Essex ICS; and Staffordshire.
Contractors eligible to take part in this pilot will be contacted by their NHS England and NHS Improvement regional team.
Payment for provision
Reimbursement will be paid on the condition that the participating pharmacy has provided the service in accordance with the service specification. The pilot will pay £18.50 per consultation and each participating pharmacy will be paid a one-off sum of £685 to meet the set-up costs for the service.
Pharmacists who take part in an evaluation interview can claim a separate one-off payment of £125 per pharmacy.
Additionally, a participating pharmacy contractor can claim a one-off payment of £550 if they make a declaration that they have participated in the evaluation and data submission and will keep records to evidence the declaration.