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NHS England

Pharmacy urgent medicines scheme 'likely' to be extended

NHS 111 helpline website

Source: Courtesy of NHS Direct

Commissioning the NHS Urgent Medicines Supply Advanced Service, which forwards NHS 111 calls regarding emergency medicines supply to pharmacists instead of doctors or hospitals, may become part of forthcoming negotiations on the new community pharmacy contract

A service that forwards NHS 111 calls to community pharmacies, rather than doctors or hospitals, when patients need urgent supplies of medicines is likely to be recommissioned by NHS England after an interim evaluation of the service showed positive results, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has said.

The NHS Urgent Medicines Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS) pilot is commissioned until the end of September 2018, but the PSNC, the negotiating body for community pharmacy contractors in England, said “it is anticipated the commissioning of the pilot will be extended”.

In its July 2018 summary report for local pharmaceutical committees (LPCs) and contractors, the PSNC said the long-term commissioning of the service may be a subject that could become part of the forthcoming negotiations on a new community pharmacy contract.

It has discussed potential improvements to the scheme with community pharmacy contractors and LPCs, and has drawn up a list that could be discussed with NHS England.

These include an IT solution for pharmacies providing the service which would allow digital referrals to be made from NHS 111, the service being provided on a walk-in basis and an extension of the service to include referrals from other areas of the health service, such as hospital emergency departments.

LPCs and pharmacists told the PSNC they felt that NHS 111 could streamline the NUMSAS process, with call-handlers given training on how to make referrals and give a verbal explanation to patients of how the service works.

NHS England could not confirm whether the scheme will be extended.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20205234

Readers' comments (2)

  • I still don't understand why such a costly and complicated system is needed. Many areas had local schemes where patients walked into a pharmacy and were dealt with quickly and at low cost. For most patients, 111 was not needed at all. Where a patient did contact 111 in the first instance, they were simply told to attend the pharmacy.

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  • Why not just copy the Scottish system? Its been working well for years and is now extended to cover more scenarios.

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  • NHS 111 helpline website

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