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Contraceptive agents

Scottish pharmacists to be paid more for emergency contraception provision following fall in unintended pregnancy rates

Community pharmacists in Scotland will now be reimbursed at an increased rate of £30 per patient for providing emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) because of the effect the service has had on unintended pregnancies.

Rose Marie Parr, Scotland’s chief pharmaceutical officer, set out the increased payment in a letter sent on 8 July 2019 to chief executives of NHS boards and directors of NHS National Services Scotland. Reimbursement for EHC is currently set at £25, which has not increased since the remuneration model was established in 2014.

In her letter, Parr said the higher rate of reimbursement was to “recognise the impact that this service has had on the overall unintended pregnancy rate in Scotland”. 

EHC has been provided free of charge in Scotland since 2008, where clinically indicated. In 2017/2018, Scottish pharmacists dispensed 87,826 EHC packs for a total remuneration of £1,994,050.

Parr’s letter also gave details of the outcome of negotiations for the community pharmacy funding settlement in Scotland for 2019/2020.

It said that £2.6m had been added to the global sum, taking it to £183.6m, and total guaranteed funding would be £224.7m.

The letter also confirmed that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Pharmacy First scheme, which gives patients access to treatments for uncomplicated urinary tract infections and impetigo from a community pharmacy, will be merged with the Scottish minor ailment service from April 2020 to create a new minor ailment and common clinical conditions service.

After the merger, a “revised remuneration model will be introduced”, Parr’s letter says, adding that all pharmacists involved in delivering the merged scheme must complete an NHS Education for Scotland Pharmacy First training pack.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206791

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