Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login


Community pharmacy

Huge increase in pharmacy-supplied urgent repeat prescriptions, internal NHS evaluation finds

Some 42% of all patient requests for urgent repeat prescriptions made via the NHS 111 service in January 2018 were supplied by community pharmacists who had voluntarily signed up to the NHS Urgent Medicine Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS) scheme.

Just 12 months earlier, this figure was only 1%, the results of an internal analysis by NHS England revealed.

The NUMSAS, which provides a community pharmacy emergency supply service via NHS 111, was phased in from December 2016 with money from the Pharmacy Integration Fund. Since it was introduced, the service has taken pressure off GPs, according to the evaluation.

In January 2017, 70.2% of urgent requests for a repeat prescription were picked up by GP out-of-hours services; 12 months later that figure had fallen to 45.2%.

The NHS England evaluation revealed that 4,000 pharmacies have registered for the scheme since it was launched. By January 2018, 106,228 items had been supplied through the NUMSAS.

The main reason given for needing an urgent repeat prescription (31.5%) was that patients had forgotten to place a new order; 17.7% had placed an order but the repeat prescription was not ready; some 15% of patients said they had been unable to pick up their prescription, while another 11.9% said they needed the service because they were not at home.

The evaluation also revealed that 66.3% of patients admitted they would have gone to a hospital emergency department or contacted their out-of-hours GP for their repeat prescription if the pharmacy-led service had not existed.

The results of the evaluation, seen by The Pharmaceutical Journal, come as the government has announced that it is extending the NUMSAS — which remains as a pilot scheme — for a further six months. The scheme was due to end in March 2018 but was extended until September 2018, before being given a further extension until March 2019.



Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20205516

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.