Getting ready to provide the service
Where ear examinations are performed within the pharmacy, the pharmacist must use an otoscope. Consequently, all pharmacies providing the service (bar DSPs) must have an otoscope.
Guidance on selecting a suitable otoscope can be found in Annex C of the service specification.
Standard Operating Procedure
Pharmacy owners must have a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the service, which all staff participating in provision of the service must be familiar with and follow.
Various pharmacy support organisations provide template SOPs which their members can personalise for use in their pharmacy.
Competency and training requirements
The pharmacy owner must ensure that pharmacists providing the service are competent to do so, including the use of an otoscope (except for DSPs) and be familiar with the clinical pathways, clinical protocol and PGDs. This may involve completion of training.
The pharmacy owner must keep documentary evidence that pharmacy staff involved in the provision of the service are competent and remain up to date with regards to the specific skills and knowledge that are appropriate to their role, and to the aspects of the service they are delivering.
The Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) has a webpage which details training resources which may help pharmacists preparing to provide the service.
CPPE have also developed with NHS England a Pharmacy First self-assessment framework, which pharmacists can use to assess their knowledge in relation to the service and to identify any gaps in their knowledge, which need to be filled.
Select an IT system
As with the current Community Pharmacist Consultation Service, an NHS-assured Pharmacy First IT system, which meets the minimum digital requirements of the service (as specified within the Community Pharmacy Clinical Services Standard and including an application programming interface (API) to facilitate transfer of data into the NHSBSA MYS portal) must be used by pharmacy owners.
When choosing an IT supplier, pharmacy owners may want to refer to the NHS CPCS IT Buyers Guide.
These IT systems allow pharmacy staff to make a clinical record for the service and the data in the record will then be used by the IT system to populate a claim for payment within the NHSBSA’s MYS platform.
The transfer of data via the API will happen throughout the month, as data is entered into the IT systems. The service provisions will then be available to view in MYS from the 1st of the following month. For example, service provisions in December will be available to view in MYS on 1st January. Pharmacy owners will then need to log into the MYS platform to check that the data matches the details in their IT system, and they will then need to submit their claim for payment.
The full dataset for the Pharmacy First service can be found in Annex B of the service specification.
The NHS-approved clinical IT system will also send messages containing a summary of the consultation to the patient’s general practice.
The following four IT suppliers are currently working with NHS England to develop their systems to include functionality to support the service, but over time, we expect other suppliers will add the service to their systems:
|System and supplier
|HxConsult (Positive Solutions)
|Pharmacy Manager (Cegedim)
|PharmOutcomes (Pinnacle Health)
|Sonar health (Sonar informatics)
Sign up to provide the service
Pharmacy owners must notify NHS England that they intend to provide the service by completion of an electronic registration through the NHS Business Services Authority’s (NHSBSA) Manage Your Service (MYS) portal.
Registrations will open on 1st December 2023. Further information is included in the Funding and claiming payment section below.
Withdrawal from the service
If the pharmacy owner wishes to stop providing the service, they must notify NHS England that they are no longer going to provide the service via the MYS platform, giving at least 30 days’ notice prior to the cessation of the service. The pharmacy owner may be asked for their reason for withdrawal from the service.