Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 25th June 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Redfern Baroness Redfern Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase the role of community pharmacies (1) in promoting self care, and (2) as a first point of contact recognised in contractual frameworks.

Photo of Baroness Barran Baroness Barran Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

In terms of promoting self-care, community pharmacy contractors are already obliged by the community pharmacy contractual framework to provide advice and support to enable people to derive maximum benefit from caring for themselves or their families. NHS England and Improvement have been running the Help Us to Help You campaigns which educate the public on the ability of community pharmacies to help the public and patients with their needs relating to self-care and minor illness.

In 2016, Public Health England (PHE) introduced profession-led self-assessment for attainment of healthy living pharmacy (HLP) level 1 status. This was followed by the introduction of a quality payment for HLP level 1 status attainment. As a result, there has been an increase in the numbers achieving HLP status. There are now more than 9,500 community pharmacies already accredited as HLPs, each with qualified health champions promoting health and wellbeing messages, helping to prevent people from becoming ill and maintaining the health of those that are already ill in their communities.

PHE is developing an HLP framework for commissioners which can be used when commissioning public health services to ensure consistency of delivery across the country, due to be published in spring 2020. These services help to further increase the role of community pharmacy in prevention and improving health.

In terms of community pharmacies as a first point of contact, the HLP initiative is also relevant.‎ In addition, since December 2017, NHS England and NHS Improvement has been piloting the Digital Minor Illness Referral Service. This is a service that allows referrals from NHS 111 to community pharmacies for advice and support for minor illnesses and health concerns. The outcome for the patient, if they attend the pharmacy for a consultation with the pharmacist, may be either to receive advice alone or advice with access to medicines through a private sale of an over the counter medicine or potentially a medicine supply through a locally commissioned minor ailment scheme. In November 2018, the pilot was expanded to include London, Devon and the East Midlands., in addition to the North East.

Since 2016, the NHS Medicines Supply Advanced Service has been piloted. This is service manages a referral from NHS 111 to a community pharmacy where a patient has contacted NHS 111 because they need urgent access to a medicine or appliance that they have been previously prescribed on a National Health Service prescription.

Furthermore, the Department, with NHS England and NHS Improvement, has now begun negotiations with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee to determine the new Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework for 2019/20 and beyond. These are confidential negotiations and as such we are unable to provide further detail at this time.

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