More than 90% of community pharmacies have signed up to deliver Pharmacy First in England, pharmacy minister Dame Andrea Leadsom has said.
In a written answer published yesterday, the parliamentary under-secretary for health and social care confirmed that the service would launch in ‘early 2024’.
And she said that ‘over 90% of community pharmacies have now signed up to deliver the service’.
The comments came in response to a written question form Labour / Co-Operative MP for West Yorkshire Rachael Maskell, who also asked what steps had been taken to prepare and train pharmacists and other pharmacy staff to deliver the service.
Dame Andrea responded: ‘Community pharmacies are private businesses that provide National Health Service pharmaceutical services and [it] is up to them to provide their staff with the necessary training.’
She added that a set-up fee will be paid to participating pharmacies ‘to recognise that pharmacy contractors must ensure that pharmacists and pharmacy staff providing the service are competent to do so, which may involve of training’.
And she pointed to the checklist developed by Community Pharmacy England (CPE) ‘for both pharmacy owners and pharmacists, including locums, to help them get ready for the service’.
‘Contractors are supported by additional resources provided by the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education to ensure participating pharmacists are clinically competent to deliver these services safely,’ Dame Andrea added.
Pharmacies that signed up to deliver the common conditions service before 11:59pm on 31 December 2023 will receive an initial fixed payment of £2,000 on 1 February 2024.
And those that sign up before 11:59pm on 30 January 2024 will receive the £2,000 initial fixed payment on 1 March 2024.
From February 2024, pharmacy contractors delivering the service will receive a fixed payment of £1,000 per month, subject to delivering a minimum number of consultations.
But CPE has admitted concerns over the minimum number of consultations required for pharmacies to receive full funding for the Pharmacy First scheme.
This story first appeared on our sister title, The Pharmacist.