NHS priorities

Whether it’s to prepare for the next Quality Payments Scheme deadline, or to increase your confidence in helping people with a learning disability, this section provides topic-specific pages that link to current NHS priorities. This section will support you in keeping your knowledge and skills up to date in order to provide high-quality pharmacy services and be service-ready.

Clinical pharmacy

Our clinical portfolio is expanding on a frequent basis, helping you to advance your knowledge and skills and deliver medicines optimisation in practice for all sectors of pharmacy. From two new focal points a year to our small group learning for hospital pharmacists – Optimise – this section focuses on clinical pharmacy, diseases and therapeutics.

Public health

The public health agenda is embedded in pharmacy, yet topics such as emergency contraception or stop smoking support are as prevalent as ever. As well as our public health workshops, use this section to access a wide range of resources to assure and maintain your competence, all underpinned by the Declaration of Competence system.

Community Pharmacy Hepatitis C Antibody Testing Service

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an infectious, blood borne virus that affects the liver and is predominately transmitted by contact with infected blood. In the UK, those at highest risk of contracting HCV are people who inject drugs (PWIDs). National data suggests that PWIDs account for 90 percent of all new HCV infections.1

Chronic HCV infection, where the virus is not cleared, occurs in about 70 to 90 percent of people with HCV.2 Liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, which are sometimes an associated consequence of chronic HCV infection, account for most of the burden of disease due to viral hepatitis.3 HCV is treatable with antiviral medicines and can be detected through antibody testing.

The UK government supports the World Health Organization’s goal of eliminating HCV by 2030 and plans to eliminate HCV in England by 2025.4 The Community Pharmacy Hepatitis C Antibody Testing Service, an advanced service commissioned under the NHS Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework forms part of this plan. The aim of this service is to increase levels of testing for HCV amongst PWIDs who are not engaged in community drug and alcohol treatment services to:

  1. increase the number of diagnoses of HCV infection;
  2. permit effective interventions to lessen the burden of illness to the individual;
  3. decrease long-term costs of treatment; and
  4. decrease onward transmission of HCV.1

In order to prepare to deliver the Community Pharmacy Hepatitis C Antibody Testing Service you should familiarise yourself with the service specification. Watching the NHS England and NHS Improvement Training video for Hepatitis C antibody testing in community pharmacy video is a mandatory training requirement. These resources, along with further learning resources, can be accessed under the tabs below.

Click the following tabs where you will find information on how to prepare to deliver the Community Pharmacy Hepatitis C Antibody Testing Service.

Community Pharmacy Hepatitis C Antibody Testing Service - service specification

The Community Pharmacy Hepatitis C Antibody Testing Service service specification provides further background information, the aims and intended outcomes of the service and the details around service provision. The appendices contain the forms that you will require during the delivery of this service. Click the button below to download the service specification.

Community Pharmacy Hepatitis C Antibody Testing Service service specification

Mandatory training video for hepatitis C antibody testing in community pharmacy

NHS England and NHS Improvement have produced a training video for hepatitis C antibody testing in community pharmacy which can be accessed below. This training video serves as the mandatory core training requirement for any staff providing the service. It has been designed to provide community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians with the key information required to carry out consultations and HCV antibody testing for individuals who currently inject drugs and are not engaged in any treatment for their substance misuse.

The video covers the following topics:

  • What is hepatitis C and who is at risk?
  • Treating and curing hepatitis C
  • The Community Pharmacy Hepatitis C Antibody Testing Service
  • How to approach people about the hepatitis C antibody testing in community pharmacy
  • Appeal to the human nature of the individual
  • Demonstrate you care about the person’s wellbeing
  • Be patient and consistent
  • Explore their reasoning behind the refusal
  • What should you cover with the individual prior to testing?
  • How to test for hepatitis C antibodies
  • How to follow up with the patient after the antibody test has been completed.
Please note that this video was filmed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst delivering this service you should ensure that you follow the most up to date Public Health England guidance on the utilisation of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Training video for hepatitis C antibody testing in community pharmacy

Further learning resources

At the end of the Training video for Hepatitis C antibody testing in community pharmacy the following further learning resources are suggested for further personal learning:


Any queries about this service should be directed to england.hepc-enquiries@nhs.net

  1. Community pharmacy Hepatitis C Antibody Testing Service - Advanced Service, Service specification. July 2020. Available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/service-specification-community-pharmacy-hepatitis-c-antibody-testing-service-advanced-service/
  2. London Joint Working Group on Substance Use and Hepatitis C. HCV testing in NSP (Needle and Syringe Provision) Community Pharmacies Pilot (Phase 1). May 2018. Available at: http://ljwg.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/LJWG-Pharmacy-Testing-Phase-1-final-report-.pdf
  3. World Health Organization. Combating Hepatitis B And C To Reach Elimination By 2030. May 2016. Available at: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/206453/WHO_HIV_2016.04_eng.pdf;jsessionid=23B9A53C32594FF683037049096D8125?sequence=1
  4. NHS England. NHS England’s plan to eliminate Hepatitis C decisively backed by High Court. January 2019. Available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/2019/01/nhs-englands-plan-to-eliminate-hepatitis-c-decisively-backed-by-high-court/