The Pharmacy First Service: Right Care, First Time with NHS England

For A Minor Illness Or Urgent Repeat Medicine Supply: Think Pharmacy First!

Building upon on the successful Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS), which has been serving patients since October 2019 with referrals from NHS 111, Pharmacy First takes accessibility and quality care to new heights. Launched on 31 January 2024, this innovative service seamlessly integrates with existing consultation offerings, empowering community pharmacies to deliver comprehensive care for 7 common conditions through defined clinical pathways.

What are the perks of Pharmacy First clinical pathways and patient groups? Well in May 2023, NHS service finder, Pharmacy Contractors, participating pharmacies, NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care unveiled a comprehensive Delivery Plan to enhance access to primary care. As part of this initiative, patients can now obtain specific prescription medications directly from a pharmacy with a quicker and more convenient consultation with the pharmacist, eliminating the need for a General Practise (GP) appointment for emergency care.

Not only this, community pharmacies are equipped with consultation rooms and also offer a more convenient way to access healthcare that includes support with healthy eating, exercise, stopping smoking, blood pressure checks, contraception, flu and covid vaccinations.

The Seven Common Conditions and Exploring The Role Of Pharmacies In Healthcare

Empowering Healthcare with Pharmacy First

Guidance and Solutions Pharmacists are equipped to provide guidance on various health issues and recommend suitable medications.

They can also administer treatment and prescribe certain medications for specific conditions, eliminating the need for a GP visit. Conditions covered under Pharmacy First include:

  • Earache (ages 1 to 17)
  • Impetigo (ages 1 and up)
  • Infected insect bites (ages 1 and up)
  • Shingles (ages 18 and up)
  • Sinusitis (ages 12 and up)
  • Sore throat (ages 5 and up)
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs) for women (ages 16 to 64)

When visiting a pharmacy for these conditions, pharmacists will offer advice, treatment, or referrals to a GP or other healthcare professionals if necessary. They will also update your GP health record.

Pharmacists can still provide guidance for those outside these age ranges, but treatment may require a GP visit.

Medication Consultation Pharmacists can address concerns about your medications, including usage instructions, potential side effects, and other inquiries you may have.

Consultation and Antibiotic: Safe Disposal of Expired Medications

When your medication expires or you no longer need it, avoid disposing of it in the trash or flushing it down the toilet. Instead, bring it to your pharmacy for safe and proper disposal.

What Are The Benefits Of The Pharmacy First Service?

This game-changing service is poised to alleviate the strain on GP appointments, ensuring that those in urgent need receive prompt and convenient access to top-notch healthcare. From addressing pesky earaches to tackling bothersome urinary tract infections, Pharmacy First is all about nipping health concerns in the bud.

Currently, NHS patients in England typically have to visit their GP to access prescription-only medication, leading to repeated trips and treatment delays. However, with community pharmacies offering a wide array of healthcare services, including advice on the National Institute for Health, healthy living, smoking cessation support, and vaccination services, patients now have a more convenient healthcare option at their fingertips.

How Has Pharmacy First Been Received So Far?

The feedback of the Pharmacy First service has been fantastic. The community pharmacy survey revealed that over 90% of appointments a year for patients who sought guidance from a community pharmacy in the past year received excellent advice. Without the need to visit a GP, the Institute for Health and Care Excellence in the UK is doing well in this private consultation and other service provision. With the government and NHS England committed to optimising patient care, initiatives like Pharmacy First are a testament to their dedication to leveraging community pharmacists’ expertise for all benefits with complete episodes of care following defined clinical pathways.

So, step into a world of enhanced healthcare accessibility and convenience with Pharmacy First – because your well-being and supply of appropriate medicines are always our top priority!

#RightCareFirstTime #PharmacyFirst

Explore NHS Pharmacy First Service: Boosting Awareness For Health and Social Care

Advance Service Exploring Your New Medication

Embarking on a new medication regimen for a long-term condition can be overwhelming, but you’re not alone. Through the New Medicine Service (NMS), available free of charge, your local pharmacist can provide guidance and support as you navigate this new journey.

Who Can Benefit? If you reside in England and have been prescribed medication for conditions such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, or others listed below, you’re eligible to participate:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Osteoporosis
  • Gout
  • Glaucoma
  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Urinary incontinence or retention
  • Heart failure
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Unstable angina or heart attack
  • Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • Long-term risk of blood clots or blocked blood vessels, including DVT (deep vein thrombosis)

How It Works: Inquire about the New Medicine Service when collecting your prescription from the pharmacy first scheme. Over the course of several weeks, you’ll have three appointments with the pharmacist, either in person or over the phone.

During these sessions, you can openly discuss any concerns or questions you may have about your medication. The GP appointment pharmacist is there to address any issues and can refer you back to your doctor if necessary.

Emergency Contraception Common Conditions

Certain pharmacies provide free health and social care for emergency contraceptive pills. You can purchase it from most pharmacies or clinical pathways (CPWs) if you’re 16 years old or older.

Emergency contraception service specification serves to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse (sex without contraception or when contraception fails).

It’s crucial to use emergency contraception within 3 to 5 days of unprotected intercourse.

The effectiveness of emergency contraception typically increases the sooner it’s used.

Two types of emergency contraception are available:

  • An IUD (intrauterine device), also known as a copper coil.
  • The emergency contraceptive pill, often referred to as the morning-after pill.

The IUD stands as the most effective form of emergency contraception.

Advice and treatment: Wondering where to get emergency contraception?

You can obtain the emergency pill or IUD at no cost from:

  • Most sexual health clinics, also known as family planning or contraception clinics.
  • Most GP surgeries.

Additionally, you can receive the emergency pill at no charge from:

  • Some NHS walk-in centres.
  • Pharmacies offering NHS emergency contraception services.
  • Some young people’s services (for more details, contact the national sexual health helpline on 0300 123 7123 to provide advice).

Moreover, best course of action you can purchase the emergency contraceptive pill at most pharmacies, including online platforms from NHS England Website and access the service.

IUD: An IUD can be inserted within 5 days (120 hours) after intercourse.

It’s a small plastic T-shaped device that a specially trained nurse or doctor can place into your womb.

To have an IUD fitted, you must schedule an appointment with a nurse or doctor. Typically, this is done at a sexual health clinic or GP surgery.

The IUD can serve as your regular method of contraception and lasts for either 5 or 10 years, depending on the type.

Emergency contraceptive pill: In the UK NHS service, there are two primary types of emergency pills:

  • Levonorgestrel (brands include Levonelle), which you must take within 3 days (72 hours) after intercourse.
  • Ulipristal acetate (brands include ellaOne), which you need to take within 5 days (120 hours) after intercourse.

Can I Get Oral Contraception Without a Prescription or Consultation?

Starting December 2023, select pharmacies will be able to initiate or resume oral contraception for women without the need for a GP visit. This builds upon the existing service for repeat prescriptions. During a confidential consultation, the pharmacist will discuss your medication to ensure it suits your needs.

And the best part? Oral contraception is free on the NHS, with no prescription charges for you to worry about!

Check the NHS England Website Department of Health and Social for the New Pharmacy First Scheme for Advanced Service

How can I know if my local Pharmacy First scheme benefits me?

The NHS is on a mission to make healthcare more accessible, and this new Pharmacy First service is a big part of it. But how does it work?

If you are feeling under the weather, visit your participating pharmacy for a private consultation with the pharmacist for urgent and emergency care or other common health conditions. You may also be referred by your GP or the 111 helpline. Pharmacists will conduct consultations either in person or virtually, asking questions and offering recommendations based on your needs.

What Are the Benefits? There are plenty of perks to Pharmacy First! Pharmacies offering the service during all opening hours, potentially quicker access than a GP appointment, and the potential to free up millions of GP appointments annually are just a few.

How Do Pharmacists Supply Prescription Medications? Pharmacists follow strict NHS protocols, ensuring safe and effective treatment for patients within specified age and gender groups.

Is There a Cost? Consultations with pharmacists are free even for minor illness, though over-the-counter medications will be at your expense. Prescription charges apply unless you’re eligible for free prescriptions or have a prescription prepayment certificate.

With Pharmacy First, accessing the care you need has never been more convenient. Patient group directions or pharmacy-first service builds the community pharmacy within prescription-only medicines

Wondering if Your Local Pharmacy Is on Board or Offers the Service?

Find a participating pharmacy – healthcare professionals can use the NHS Service Finder to locate pharmacies that are participating in the service.

Further Information On Pharmacy First

Pharmacy First service documents – get the service specification, clinical pathways and patient group directions that support this service.

Launching the service – information about the launch of the Pharmacy First service in January 2024.