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Over 90% community pharmacies signed up to deliver Pharmacy First, reveals Andrea Leadsom

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Community Pharmacy England has developed a checklist for both pharmacy owners and pharmacists to help them get ready for the service.    

The Pharmacy First service is scheduled to commence on 31st January 2024, and it will be delivered by almost all community pharmacies in England.

Pharmacy minister Andrea Leadsom has confirmed that more than 90 per cent of community pharmacies in the country have now signed up to provide the common conditions service.

She made the announcement while responding to a written question from Labour’s York Central MP Rachael Maskell, who asked what recent progress has been made on the implementation of the service.

In a written answer published on 15 January, the parliamentary under-secretary for health and social care also confirmed that that the service will be launched in ‘early 2024’.

Andrea said: “The service proposals, competency requirements and funding arrangements for the Pharmacy First Service were co-developed and agreed with Community Pharmacy England (CPE), the body that has been formed by the sector and recognised by the Secretary of State as the representative for all pharmacy contractors in England.”

In another question, the MP asked about steps being taken to prepare and train pharmacists and other pharmacy staff to deliver the agreed services.

The minster responded: “Community pharmacies are private businesses that provide National Health Service pharmaceutical services and is up to them to provide their staff with the necessary training.”

According to her, participating pharmacies will be paid a set-up fee to “recognise that pharmacy contractors must ensure that pharmacists and pharmacy staff providing the service are competent to do so, which may involve of training.”

Further, she informed that CPE has developed a checklist for both pharmacy owners and pharmacists, including locums, to help them get ready for the service.

“Contractors are supported by additional resources provided by the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education to ensure participating pharmacists are clinically competent to deliver these services safely,” she added.

NHS England is working with four IT system suppliers –  Cegedim, PharmOutcomes, Positive Solutions, and Sonar Informatics –  to put the required IT systems in place to support launch of the service.

It is expected to be completed soon, and once it is ready, pharmacy owners will be communicated by the NHSE.

“The system suppliers are updating their existing NHS-assured IT support for the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) to incorporate the new elements of the Pharmacy First service and the additional IT functionality also being developed to support the service,” CPE said.

Pharmacy owners can either continue to use their CPCS IT system supplier for Pharmacy First IT support or change to another NHS-assured Pharmacy First IT system supplier.

Pharmacy owners must sign up to provide Pharmacy First on MYS with their IT supplier by 19 January 2024 to ensure that their pharmacies will show as ‘live’ on the Directory of Services (DoS) from 31st January 2024, NHS England said at the recent CPE Pharmacy First webinar.

 

 

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