A pilot which has seen community pharmacies supplying emergency prescriptions has saved almost 40,000 GP appointments in one year, the primary care minister has said.
Steve Brine said that the NHS Urgent Medicines Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS) saved 38,900 GP appointments between December 2016 and December 2017.
The scheme is being piloted as a national ‘advanced service’, offered on a voluntary basis to pharmacies in England.
As of January 2018, 3,674 community pharmacies were registered to provide the service – supplying a total of 29,177 NUMSAS items between December 2016 and October 2017.
The service, which enables a patient to urgently access a drug or an appliance, is available to patients referred to the pharmacy from NHS 111.
It can be provided by pharmacies that meet eligibility criteria including having a consultation room, using the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) and a shared NHSmail mailbox.
Upon announcing the scheme, which was welcomed as a ‘sensible’ move by the BMA, the Government said it aimed to reduce pressure on GP out-of-hours and A&E services.
In response to a question from a fellow MP earlier this month about the contribution made by community pharmacies, Mr Brine said: ‘Pharmacy will continue to be a trusted partner in delivering a world class NHS and the Government is committed to working with community pharmacy to help make this a reality.’
This story was first reported by Pulse’s sister title the Pharmacist.