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Pharmacies in Scotland to offer bridging contraception service from November 9

All community pharmacies in Scotland will start offering a bridging contraception service from November 9, the Scottish government has announced.

In a circular published yesterday (September 23), the Scottish government advised that the service will be added to the public health service section of the community pharmacy contract from November 9.

Under the service, Scottish pharmacies will be able to provide a three-month supply of desogestrel as bridging contraception to their patients, either following an emergency hormonal contraception consultation or as a standalone temporary supply until a patient has seen their GP or sexual health service for a longer-term solution.

The launch of the service follows a successful Bridge-IT pilot undertaken in several community pharmacies across the UK, according to the circular.

 

Remuneration and training

A national patient group direction (PGD) has been developed for pharmacists to supply desogestrel under the bridging contraception service, and contractors will receive £30 per consultation undertaken.

Payment verification and counter-fraud checks will be determined as appropriate by National Services Scotland (NSS), the government said.

The service and contraception supply is free for patients, Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) confirmed to C+D, and the service aims “to increase access to contraception and... reduce the incidence of unplanned pregnancy”.

The government stressed that: “Community pharmacy contractors should ensure that their pharmacists complete the e-learning module for bridging contraception, now available on the NES TURAS Learn website. A webinar to support the implementation of the service will be held on October 4 at 7pm.”

The introduction of a bridging contraception service was one of the Scottish National Party’s key pledges in its 2021 manifesto.

In July, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency approved the reclassification of desogestrel contraceptive pills Lovima and Hana from prescription-only medicines to pharmacy medicines.

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