RPS England responds to pharmacy first rollout

Ms Tase Oputu, RPS England Board Chair

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society in England has welcomed the announcement that a Pharmacy First service, along with contraception and blood pressure services, will soon be delivered through community pharmacies in England as part of the primary care access recovery plan.

Women in England will be able to access contraceptive pills directly from pharmacies from December 2023. Starting on 31st January 2024, Pharmacy First will provide treatment for sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bite, impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women. Blood pressure checks will also be expanded with the ambition to cover 2.5 million annually by Spring 2025.

Tase Oputu, Chair of RPS in England, said: “This move will provide women with greater choice in obtaining contraception and advice in the way that best meets their needs.

“Pharmacists are experts in medicines and perfectly placed to provide relevant health checks and ongoing support for women accessing contraception. The trials of this scheme showed a widespread welcome for the service, and the convenience community pharmacy offers as the front door to the NHS. It also makes suitable use of the clinical skills of pharmacists in partnership with GPs and existing sexual health services.

“We welcome the ability of community pharmacy teams to treat these seven conditions from February, as this is the first step towards a vision of wider prescribing services in pharmacy, using the clinical skills of pharmacists.

“We have long been calling for improved digital integration to improve the efficiency of pharmacy services for patients and health care professionals alike. We are pleased that today’s announcement also acknowledges the digital investment and records access required to make the Pharmacy First Service a clinical success.”

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