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DoH confirms pilot will allow supply of oral contraceptives

From next year, community pharmacists in South London will be able to offer women the contraceptive pill without a prescription, the Department of Health confirmed earlier this week.

The pilot project, expected to be up and running by next summer, will allow trained pharmacists to dispense contraceptive pills according to a patient group direction.

The initiative, first revealed in The Journal a year ago (PJ, 22/29 December 2007, p703), reflects the Government’s campaign to drive down unwanted pregnancies and improve women’s access to contraception.

A DoH spokesman said: “Women can still expect a full consultation with a pharmacist or a nurse. We want to improve women’s access to contraception and help reduce unintended pregnancies without undermining patient safety.”
A spokesman for Southwark Primary Care Trust said: “The project is in an early stage of development and the service specification is yet to be defined.”

Julie Bentley chief executive of the fpa (Family Planning Association) said: “Women want to get their contraception from a health professional, at a time and a place that’s convenient to them and without unnecessary delays.

"Pharmacists are highly skilled professionals. With the right training and clinical support they are well placed to conduct consultations with women, ensure patient safety and prescribe the pill in the same way that nurses already do.

"We look forward to seeing the results of the pilot and the experiences of both pharmacists and women who take part in it.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10041871

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