Pharmacy First Service
The Pharmacy First service, which will commence on 31st January 2024 (subject to the required IT systems being in place), is a crucial first step in recognising and properly funding the enormous amount of healthcare advice that community pharmacies provide to the public every day and in establishing and funding community pharmacy as the first port of call for healthcare advice.
What does the service involve?
The new Advanced service involves pharmacists providing advice and NHS-funded treatment, where clinically appropriate, for seven common conditions:
- sore throat
- acute otitis media
- infected insect bite
- uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women.
Consultations can be provided to patients presenting to the pharmacy as well as those referred by NHS 111, general practices and others.
The service will also incorporate the existing elements of the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service, i.e. minor illness consultations with a pharmacist and the supply of urgent medicines (and appliances), both following a referral from NHS 111, general practices and other authorised healthcare providers.
In the consultations with a pharmacist, people with symptoms suggestive of the seven conditions will be provided with advice and will be supplied, where clinically necessary, with a prescription-only treatment under a Patient Group Direction (PGD) or in one pathway, an over-the-counter medicine, all at NHS expense.
In the future, we hope that independent prescribers will be able to use their skills to complete episodes of care within the service, without the need for a PGD.