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CCA report highlights success: 90,000 pharmacy first consultations in first two months

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The pharmacy first report reveals impressive uptake and patient satisfaction in just two months

In a recent report released by the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA), data from the NHS Pharmacy First service indicates a substantial uptake and positive impact on patient care just two months after its launch.

The CCA’s findings shed light on the service’s efficacy in meeting patient needs and its potential to alleviate pressure on General Practices (GPs) within the NHS.

According to the report, over 90,000 Pharmacy First consultations were conducted solely by CCA members within the initial two-month period.

Impressively, 88 per cent of these consultations, totaling 81,627, were deemed eligible for NHS-funded care indicating a significant demand for the service among patients.

In the first month, the data revealed that more than 90 per cent of eligible patients received necessary care directly through Pharmacy First, bypassing the need for further referral.

Furthermore, in 75 per cent of cases, pharmacists were able to supply medication, highlighting the pivotal role community pharmacies play in managing common conditions.

One notable aspect of the data was the responsible use of antibiotics.

Pharmacists demonstrated judicious stewardship by supplying antibiotics only when absolutely necessary, dispelling prior concerns about the service contributing to antibiotic resistance.

The report also underscores the convenience and accessibility of Pharmacy First, with nearly three-quarters of consultations initiated by patients themselves.

Despite this, the report emphasised on the importance of optimizing referral pathways from GP surgeries and NHS111 to ensure all patients have access to the service when needed.

Looking ahead, the CCA advocates for targeted support for General Practices to facilitate more referrals to Pharmacy First, thereby reducing the burden on GPs.

Additionally, they propose investing in robust public engagement campaigns to raise awareness about the service’s availability.

Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive of the CCA, lauded the success of Pharmacy First in providing timely access to NHS care stating, “the Pharmacy First service continues to show immense promise.”

He stressed the necessity of continued funding beyond March 2025, along with measures to address historical underfunding in the pharmacy sector.

The Pharmacy First service, launched in January 2024, allows pharmacists to provide advice and prescription-only medicines for seven common conditions.

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Current Issue June 2024

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