NHS priorities

Whether it’s to prepare for the next Pharmacy Quality 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.

NHS Pharmacy First service

The NHS Pharmacy First service launches as a new advanced service of the community pharmacy contract on Wednesday 31st January 2024.

Pharmacy First replaces the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) and includes seven new clinical pathways. The full Pharmacy First service consists of three elements:

  • Clinical pathways – a new element of the service
  • Urgent repeat medicine supply – previously within CPCS
  • NHS referrals for minor illness – previously within CPCS

More details of this advanced service are available from NHS England and Community Pharmacy England.

Providing the service requires community pharmacies to hold consultations that give advice and NHS-funded treatment (via Patient Group Directions), where appropriate for seven common conditions (following clinical pathways), which are:

  • Sinusitis
  • Sore throat
  • Acute otitis media
  • Infected insect bite
  • Impetigo
  • Shingles
  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women

CPPE has a range of learning resources to prepare and support pharmacy professionals to provide the NHS Pharmacy First service. These resources include a self-assessment framework developed in partnership with NHS England, which supports you to reflect on your knowledge, skills and behaviours that are essential to provide all three elements of the NHS Pharmacy First service. Through the self-assessment, you can identify any gaps and make an action plan to develop as required.

You can download a copy of the Pharmacy First self-assessment framework using the button below:

NHS Pharmacy First Service – service specification, clinical pathways and PGD's

In order to deliver this service you need to access and become familiar with the service specification published by NHS England, the clinical pathways and the PGD's. Click on the buttons below to access the relevant documents.

Pharmacy First Service specification Clinical pathways PGD's

Pharmacy contractors must be able to provide all elements of the Pharmacy First service. An exception to this is for distance-selling pharmacies where consultations for the Otitis Media clinical pathway are excluded, since the use of an otoscope is clinically indicated.

Competency requirements

Before beginning to deliver the service, the pharmacy contractor must ensure that pharmacists and pharmacy staff providing the service are competent to do so, and are familiar with the clinical pathways, clinical protocol, and Patient Group Directions (PGDs). This may involve the completion of some training.

The Pharmacy First self-assessment framework supports you to consider your previous learning and experience of responding to minor illness in the pharmacy so that you can evidence how you have achieved competence or identify further learning (with some suggested resources) that you can complete to support your development.

Evidence of competence

The pharmacy contractor is required to keep documentary evidence that pharmacy staff involved in the provision of the service are competent and remain up to date regarding the specific skills and knowledge that are appropriate to their role, and to the aspects of the service they are delivering.

Pharmacy contractors may wish to refer to the completed Pharmacy First self-assessment framework, in agreement with staff, to help them ensure the governance and quality of service provision.

Learning resources to support your development

The Pharmacy First self-assessment framework contains details of suggested learning resources against each statement so that you are signposted to materials which will support your learning for any gaps you identify in your knowledge, skills, and behaviours.

Please note there are no mandatory training requirements to deliver the NHS Pharmacy First service. The suggested resources are intended to help you to meet your own individual development needs.

These resources may be categorised as follows:

  • Service resources – eg the service specification and supporting materials
  • Diagnostic resources – eg clinical skills training and learning associated with specific conditions
  • Treatment resources – eg materials to support appropriate management of a condition and other considerations such as the use of antibiotics.

(Note – many of these resources are external to CPPE and we are not responsible for maintaining the content)

In addition to the statements in the self-assessment framework, pharmacy professionals are expected to meet: