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Pharmacies to be paid £18.50 per consultation in NHS Community Pharmacy Contraception pilot

Community pharmacies across seven PCNs have been selected to join the NHS Community Pharmacy Contraception Management Service pilot, allowing patients greater access to ongoing oral contraception. 

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) announced that the scheme will run from today (September 30) for one calendar year, with the possibility of being extended.

Under the tier 1 pilot, pharmacists and their teams across seven selected primary care networks (PCNs) will continue the supply and management of people taking oral contraception initiated in primary care and sexual health clinics.

Participating pharmacies will receive a one-off payment of £685 per pharmacy premises for set-up costs. This will be paid automatically on signing up to deliver the service via the NHS Business Services Authority website.

A separate one-off payment of £125 per pharmacy premises may also be claimed if participating pharmacists take part in an evaluation interview, NHSE&I added.

The PCNs where the service is being offered are located across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw; North East Lincolnshire; Hull Clinical Commissioning Group within Humber, Coast and Vale; North East and North Cumbria; Lancashire and South Cumbria; Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System; and Staffordshire.

The launch of the service follows the Public Health England (PHE) resource for commissioners, published in 2019, that highlighted the important role community pharmacy can play in supporting ongoing contraception and providing comprehensive sexual health care.


Aims for the pilot

The pilot is a first step in giving patients access to appropriately trained and skilled community pharmacists who can provide oral contraception in areas that do not already offer commissioned contraceptive services, NHSE&I said.

The pilot aims to create more capacity in primary care and sexual health clinics by making ongoing access to oral contraception available through community pharmacies. It is hoped this will relieve the burden on wider primary care and sexual health clinics and provide improved access for patients.

Pharmacies will conduct a clinical check for people who need a repeat prescription of their regular oral contraceptive pill and, if clinically appropriate, a repeat supply. Pharmacists will also offer to discuss alternative contraceptive methods and share information about how a person could change to a new method.

Patients may self-refer or be referred by their GP or sexual health clinic to a participating pharmacy to continue their contraception management in a community pharmacy setting.

Pending a positive evaluation, the pilot may extend beyond September 30, 2022 and expand to include further tiers, NHSE&I added. These additional tiers could include the initiation of oral contraception via a community pharmacist and the provision of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), such as implants, injections or patches.


Selection of pharmacies

Contractors from within the seven select PCNs who are eligible to take part will be contacted by their NHSE&I regional team.

Contractors who have not been contacted but are located within these areas and comply with all elements described in the service specification are encouraged to join the pilot by registering their pharmacy’s details online with NHSE&I.

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