New Pharmacy First service to be launched in the new year


A new national Pharmacy First service will be launched on 31 January, 2024 after an agreement between the Government and Community Pharmacy England, formerly known as Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC).

An expanded Pharmacy Contraception Service and relaunch of the NHS Blood Pressure Check Service will also take place on 1 December, 2023.

Community Pharmacy England has reached agreement with Government and the NHS on the launch of a new national Pharmacy First service as well as other changes to pharmacy funding and services.

The deal sets out how the £645 million investment pledged within the Delivery plan for recovering access to primary care will be used to support community pharmacy services.

Subject to the appropriate digital systems being in place to support these services, the changes will be launched on 31 January, 2024.

The new Pharmacy First service will include providing advice and NHS-funded treatment, where appropriate, for seven common conditions:

  • sinusitis
  • sore throat
  • earache
  • infected insect bite
  • impetigo
  • shingles
  • uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women

Consultations can be provided to patients presenting to the pharmacy as well as those referred by NHS 111, GPs and others. The service will also incorporate the existing Community Pharmacist Consultation Service.

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).

In addition, an expanded Pharmacy Contraception Service will launch from 1 December 2023, meaning millions of women will be able to get free contraceptive pills on the high street without having to see a GP.

Also on that date, the NHS Blood Pressure Check Service (otherwise known as the Hypertension Case-Finding Service) will relaunch, with additional funding available to support both of these services.

Luvjit Kandula, chair of Greater Manchester Primary Care Provider Board (PCB) and chief officer of Community Pharmacy Greater Manchester, said: “This is a critical development for community pharmacy and will also inform future negotiations for the national contract and the direction of travel for us.

“More importantly, this will help us to support system pressures and use our pharmacy skill-mix better to support minor illness, and deliver prevention/public health, in a more streamlined and consistent way.

“We will be working closely with the GM NHSE programme team to support contractors to  implement these services.”

Community Pharmacy England webinars will be held on Monday, 27 November at 7pm and Tuesday, 28 November at 12.30pm for contractors.

Please register in advance using the links below:

Further guidance is available in the full CPE update and the letter for contractors issued on 16 November.