PAGB welcomes the launch of Pharmacy First services in England

Today marks the launch of the new NHS Pharmacy First advanced service in England enabling community pharmacists to manage and treat individuals for seven common conditions, following specific clinical pathways, as set out in the Delivery plan for recovering
access to primary care.

The Pharmacy First scheme is welcomed by PAGB, the consumer healthcare association, as one of the recommendations incorporated in the delivery plan from the Blueprint for a national self-care strategy, published in 2021 by the Self-Care Strategy Group. Alongside expansions to pharmacy blood pressure checking and contraceptive services, the launch of Pharmacy First provides improved access to advice and treatment. Pharmacy First will enable the supply of appropriate medicines for minor illness by community pharmacists, supporting people to self-care without the need for them to visit a GP or A&E, and, according to NHS England, aims to save up to 10 million GP appointments a year for common conditions.

Michelle Riddalls, CEO of PAGB, the consumer healthcare association, said:

The Pharmacy First scheme is an important step in giving people the tools they need to self-care and raising awareness of the specialist support that community pharmacists can provide.

“We know from our own research that 96% of people experience at least one self-treatable condition each year, with as many as 2 in 5 adults requesting a GP appointment for minor health conditions.

“Pharmacists are often under-utilised as highly-trained healthcare experts. We’re pleased that over 93% of community pharmacy contractors signed up to deliver Pharmacy First ahead of today’s launch. The services offered under the scheme by community pharmacies will support people to better manage their own health whilst protecting the NHS from further pressures.

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