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CCA members celebrate hitting 200,000 Pharmacy First consultations milestone

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Along with the pharmacy first celebrations, the Company Chemists Association has also highlighted the urgent need for GP referrals 

Since its launch on January 31st, the Pharmacy First service by the Company Chemists Association (CCA) has achieved a significant milestone, completing over 200,000 consultations to date.

This milestone underscores the service’s vital role in providing same-day NHS care through community pharmacies across England.

Recent analysis by the CCA has revealed a pressing need to bolster GP referrals, with disparities observed between different Integrated Care System (ICS) areas, resulting in what’s described as a ‘postcode lottery’ for patients.

CCA Chief Executive, Malcolm Harrison, emphasised the importance of sustained funding for Pharmacy First beyond 2025, ensuring its availability for patients, community pharmacies, and the wider NHS.

Harrison stated, “The strong patient interest in the service and the stories we are hearing from the frontline show that Pharmacy First is here to stay.”

In response to these findings, the CCA is calling on the next Government and NHS England to prioritize targeted public engagement campaigns to raise awareness of Pharmacy First.

They advocate for increased support and training for GP surgeries to enhance referral rates, citing successful strategies from higher-performing ICS areas.

Looking ahead, Harrison emphasised the need for collaborative efforts to explore opportunities for expanding the service, ultimately aiming to enhance patient access to primary care.

He remarked, “Expansion of Pharmacy First will only be possible if policymakers commit to fund Pharmacy First beyond 2025 – to give patients, pharmacy businesses, and the wider NHS confidence in the service.”

The CCA’s data collection methodology, involving anonymized and aggregated data from over 3,000 pharmacies, underscores the robustness of their findings.

However, it’s noted that the consultation figures do not consider any gateway criteria, providing a comprehensive overview of patient engagement with the service.

As Pharmacy First continues to evolve, stakeholders are reminded of its crucial role in transforming healthcare delivery, promising greater accessibility and convenience for patients across England.

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