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Pharmacy First service to launch next year

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The new Pharmacy First Common Ailments service will be launched in January 2024 

This Pharmacy First Common Ailments service will help patients seek treatment for seven common conditions directly from a pharmacy without the need for a GP appointment or prescription.

Launching on 31 January next year although it is subject to IT being ready, the service will cover ailments including “sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bites, impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs)” in women.

People with symptoms of the above seven conditions will be supplied with a prescription-only treatment under a Patient Group Direction (PGD).

Patients seeking assistance at the pharmacy, whether walk-in or referred by NHS 111, GPs, or other sources, can receive consultations.

The new service includes self-referring patients plus referrals, and the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) will also be a part of it.

Pharmacy First – payments 

CPE’s negotiations were also aimed at key improvements for the community pharmacy including aims to “incentivise sign-up for the new services, generate capacity, reduce risk for pharmacy owners and establish conditions for business growth.”

 

They secured an upfront payment of £2,000 per pharmacy ahead of the Pharmacy First launch to support pharmacy owners in preparing and building capacity for the new service.

Moreover, pharmacy owners gaining access to advanced clinical IT systems is like unlocking a door to seamlessly share data with the NHSBSA’s MYS portal and GP records.

This is a significant move to support for the ongoing growth and improvement of community pharmacy services.

There will be fixed £1,000 monthly payments subject to £15 per consultation to support ongoing capacity to deliver Pharmacy First.

The new tripartite implementation group (CPE, DHSC, NHSE) to scrutinise the uptake and activity volumes of Pharmacy First and to set caps for the second half of 2024-25.

CPE successfully negotiated eligibility for the £1,000 Pharmacy First monthly payment to the provision of the Hypertension Case-Finding and Pharmacy Contraception Services given the capacity issues in the sector.

Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy England, said: “Our focus will now turn to getting the money flowing to pharmacies and to preparing our long-term strategy to improve the sector’s future.

“Pharmacy First will help with this strategy, laying the foundations for future clinical services and establishing the sector as an increasingly vital part of primary care, offering an open door for the public and patients, relieving pressure and releasing capacity in other frontline NHS services,” she said.

Morrison further added: “This is the future that the sector told Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund that it wanted, and this was backed by our own summer polling in which 86 per cent of respondents said they were positive about delivering a  Pharmacy First service. We all now need to work together to make it a success, delivering real value to patients and the public using all our skills and capabilities.”

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Current Issue March 2024

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