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Introducing Pharmacy First Service (England)

What do Pharmacists need to do in order to prepare and deliver on Pharmacy First Services (England).

Sarah Murray avatar
Written by Sarah Murray
Updated over a week ago

The Pharmacy First Service is a new NHS initiative that allows patients to get free and readily available advice on minor ailments from their local community pharmacists without waiting for an appointment to see their GP.

As of the 31st of January 2024, the Pharmacy First scheme launched in England. The scheme provides an enhanced service where pharmacists are able to advise and provide NHS-funded treatment for 7 common minor ailments.

The Pharmacy First scheme provides frontline advice and treatment on seven common health conditions:

  • sinusitis

  • sore throat

  • acute otitis media

  • infected insect bite

  • impetigo

  • shingles

  • uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women.

This new service enables pharmacies to manage these above-common infections by informing patients of self-care and safety netting advice along with supplying patients with certain over-the-counter and prescription-only medicines. The full guidelines and guidance on this can be found on the NHS website (click here).

What do pharmacists need to know?

  • Community Pharmacy England has produced a comprehensive checklist for all pharmacists on how to prepare for the Pharmacy First service which you can check out here.

  • It is recommended that Pharmacists familiarise themselves with the service specification, clinical pathways and the current draft Patient Group Directions and protocol (click here).

  • Recent news articles have shown that 96% of pharmacies in the UK have signed up to Pharmacy First, so locums must be equipped to deliver these services.

  • Locum Pharmacists must be aware of the service and read the relevant SOPs so they can provide the service.

What do Pharmacists need to do?

  • CPPE has pulled together a self-assessment framework (click here) where you can review and test your existing knowledge of the services. This will also prove a useful tool for identifying gaps in your knowledge and future training needs. If you identify any gaps in your knowledge ensure you address these before completing any of the services.

  • There is currently no formal training required to deliver Pharmacy First services.

  • The only national requirement is to ensure you have signed up to the PGDs and protocol before providing the service. An authorisation sheet to cover all the PGDs and protocol can be found here.

  • Individual pharmacy companies may require additional compliance processes to deliver Pharmacy First. Details of this will be in shift notes.

Company Specific Actions:

  • Boots recommends locums read and sign their Pharmacy First Declaration which can be found on their company page on Locate a Locum (click here).

  • ASDA recommends locums read and sign their Pharmacy First Declaration which can be found on their company page on Locate a Locum (click here).

Pharmacy First Training Resources

Current guidelines do not require formal training to perform the Pharmacy First Service. However, CPPE has recommended Pharmacists take the self-assessment to identify any gaps in knowledge which can be found here.

NHS-funded Training:

With Pharmacy First here, there is now NHS-funded training offered to help teams build their pharmacy future. Training is fully funded, flexible, and tailored to existing skills, experience and individual learning requirements.

Learn new skills, support peer development and expand your clinical knowledge.

Courses include:

  • Clinical Examination Skills and Independent Prescribing for Community Pharmacists

  • Advancing your role for Community Pharmacy Technicians

  • Educational Supervisor Training for Community Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians

E-Learning module:

If you would like to undertake Pharmacy First-specific training for your professional development we have worked with ECG to get a 20% discount on their Pharmacy First Online Training.

Please use this coupon code at checkout:

You can access the Pharmacy First E-Learning product here:

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