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Smoking Cessation Service to commence on March 10

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The new Smoking Cessation Service (SCS) will commence on March 10, 2022, allowing community pharmacy contractors to register to provide the service on the NHS Business Services Authority’s (NHSBSA) Manage Your Service (MYS) portal from March 1, 2022.

This is the second of the two new Advanced services to be introduced this financial year, after the Hypertension case-finding service, which were agreed outcomes from negotiations for Year 3 of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework.

Since the service is an Advanced service, contractors are free to decide if they wish to provide it, as most would be busy completing work for the Pharmacy Quality Scheme 2021/22 alongside winter-related workload, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee said.

Therefore, those who decide to start this service should consider the likelihood of receiving sufficient referrals to make provision of the service worthwhile, the PSNC said.

It suggested contractors to determine whether local NHS trusts are making referrals to pharmacies and seek advice from Local Pharmaceutical Committee.

The PSNC also added that as per the current rules, the service must be provided by a pharmacist, however, the Department of Health and Social Care is working with the Revenue & Customs department to explore whether these norms can be changed.

Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services, PSNC

Commenting on the rollout of the service, Alastair Buxton, director of NHS Services, PSNC said: “Community pharmacy has a long record of supporting people to stop smoking, including through locally commissioned services. This is an enormously important intervention to improve the health of individuals and to tackle health inequalities within our society.”

He added the service is a “clear demonstration of how community pharmacy can support the health of the nation, collaborate with NHS trusts and support the future sustainability of the NHS. It will also help to further integrate pharmacies into wider healthcare pathways, in line with NHS ambitions.

“We are, however, within the early days of the rollout of the Ottawa model within hospitals, so there will be no big-bang start for the service and it will likely take two years for referrals to reach a steady state. Contractors must bear that in mind, as well as the local situation with their nearby hospitals, when deciding whether to provide the service.”

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