Experts awarded funding to evaluate new Pharmacy First service
A team of scientists and experts have been awarded funding to evaluate the new National Health Service Pharmacy First service.
Researchers led by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in collaboration with the University of Nottingham and Universities of Manchester and Oxford and experts at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), have been awarded £2.4m by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to evaluate the new service introduced to allow pharmacies to prescribe for minor illnesses.
The service launched across England in January 2024 under the Government’s NHS Primary Care Recovery Plan. From February 2024, participating pharmacies will be able to supply prescription-only medicines for seven common conditions: earache, uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women, sore throat, sinusitis, impetigo, shingles and infected insect bites, after consultation with a community pharmacist.
The research team will evaluate Pharmacy First's take-up, safety, equity, cost effectiveness and acceptability, as well as its implications for antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance.
Dr Kimberley Sonnex, from the University of Nottingham is lead for the take-up and safety evaluation, Pharmacy Practice and Policy, she said: “I’m excited to work with a research team including cross-discipline expertise from pharmacists, general practitioners, nurses, health economists, policy researchers, and experts in antimicrobial resistance to evaluate a new community pharmacy service that puts patients first.”
Professor Claire Anderson, Pharmacy Practice and Policy, University of Nottingham and president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said: “I am delighted to be part of the team evaluating Pharmacy First in England. We will have much to learn from similar, successful schemes in Wales and Scotland”
Professor Rachel Elliott, lead for the Manchester Centre for Health Economics said: “I am looking forward to working on the evaluation of Pharmacy First. When resources are limited in the NHS, it is essential we spend that money on safe and effective services to make sure patients get the best value for money from their healthcare.
“Community pharmacies are important providers of healthcare and are accessible to all communities, including the medically-underserved. Through this evaluation we will contribute to understanding of potential consequences of Pharmacy First for inequalities in access to health services and outcomes.”
I am looking forward to working on the evaluation of Pharmacy First. When resources are limited in the NHS, it is essential we spend that money on safe and effective services to make sure patients get the best value for money from their healthcare