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.

This page is intended to inform pharmacies that are formally registered to be part of the Smoking Cessation Transfer of Care (SCTC) pilot of the required training in order to deliver this service.

NHS Smoking Cessation Service Pilot: Transfer of Care to Community Pharmacy from Secondary Care

Smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable death, disability, ill-health and social inequality.1 There is plenty of evidence supporting the effectiveness of pharmacy-based stop smoking services.2 In 2019, the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework was released and outlined how the government recognised the valuable role pharmacy teams can play in helping people stop smoking. This NHS Smoking Cessation Service Pilot: Transfer of Care to Community Pharmacy from Secondary Care builds on the current stop smoking services that community pharmacy teams offer, and this page has been developed in order to support you deliver this service. Before we look at service specific information, if you would like to access background information on smoking cessation then you can access the CPPE Learning about stop smoking support guide.

The NHS Long Term Plan has adopted the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation, which originated in Canadian hospitals, as a way to reduce smoking rates in England.3 This model identifies the smoking status of all admitted patients, followed by brief advice, personalised bedside consultation, timely nicotine replacement therapy and/or pharmacotherapy, and follow-up after discharge.4 Incorporating community pharmacy into the treatment pathway for people who want to quit smoking will improve the health of England’s population and reduce the burden on NHS resources.5 An example of the use of the Ottawa model is the CURE project, which was implemented in Wythenshawe hospital in Greater Manchester.

The purpose of the NHS Smoking Cessation Service Pilot: Transfer of Care to Community Pharmacy from Secondary Care is to test a model for community pharmacy teams to manage the continuing provision of smoking cessation services initiated in secondary care. The pilot will implement and test a digital referral system between hospitals and community pharmacies to allow inpatient smokers to continue their stop smoking treatment in a community pharmacy following discharge.5 The information on this page will help you to prepare to deliver this service.

The first step in becoming ready to deliver this service is accessing and working through the Service Specification. You will find further background information within this document. Click the button below to download the Service Specification.

NHS Smoking Cessation Service Pilot: Transfer of Care to Community Pharmacy from Secondary Care Service Specification

There is also a toolkit for pharmacy staff which is a practical guide on how to provide this service. Click the button below to download the toolkit.

NHS Smoking Cessation Service Pilot: Transfer of Care to Community Pharmacy from Secondary Care Toolkit for Pharmacy Staff

As per the Service Specification there are three levels for this service, each of which has specific training requirements:

Level 1 and level 2 service can be provided by a pharmacist or a trained competent member of the pharmacy team. The provision of the service including the clinical responsibility for supply of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) remains the accountability of the Responsible Pharmacist.5

Level 3 service must be provided by a pharmacist, varenicline will be supplied via a Patient Group Direction (PGD). Pharmacists will need to provide evidence of competency through a Declaration of Competence (DoC) in order to provide the PGD level 3 service.5

Click on the following tabs where you will find further information and directions on how to access the training to support the delivery of each level of the service.

Level 1 – NCSCT very brief advice

As per the Service Specification, “Only patients discharged from hospital who are receiving level 2 and level 3 support will be referred into this service. Level 1 support is not required for this pilot project. […] However, we expect that all relevant pharmacy staff will be trained to offer brief advice or brief intervention through completion of NCSCT online ‘a very brief advice in smoking cessation’ module.”

There are two ways to access the NCSCT online Very Brief Advice in Smoking Cessation training.

For those who are registered pharmacy professionals

Pharmacy professionals should register via CPPE and not directly with NCSCT, as the pharmacy learning programme has been tailored accordingly and those entering via CPPE will have the learning show up against their CPPE record.

Access the NCSCT: Practitioners assessment - knowledge and skills e-learning via the CPPE website.

For other members of the pharmacy team

Access the NCSCT online training home page for England.

This will take you to the NCSCT online training homepage.


The following steps then apply to everyone completing this training

Please note that non-registered members of the pharmacy team will need to register with the NCSCT website in order to undertake the assessment. Registered pharmacy professionals who access the assessment via CPPE will not be asked to register in order to complete the assessment.

When you are on the NCSCT online training homepage access the “Very Brief Advice in Smoking Cessation” training programme on the bottom, right hand side of the page, as shown here:


When you have finished working through this training programme, access the Very Brief Advice on Smoking Cessation assessment by clicking the Assessment button on the left hand side of the screen, as shown here:


On completion of this assessment you will be issued with a certificate confirming that you have passed the assessment.

Level 2 – NCSCT stop smoking practitioner

All staff delivering the level 2 service need to obtain the NCSCT Stop Smoking Practitioner Certification. Please note that evidence of completion of this training needs to be obtained and stored as per the Service Specification.

There are two ways to access the NCSCT Stop Smoking Practitioner training and assessment for certification.

For those who are registered pharmacy professionals

Pharmacy professionals should register via CPPE and not directly with NCSCT, as the pharmacy learning programme has been tailored accordingly and those entering via CPPE will have the learning show up against their CPPE record.

Access the NCSCT: Practitioners assessment - knowledge and skills e-learning via the CPPE website.

For other members of the pharmacy team

Access the NCSCT online training home page for England.

This will take you to the NCSCT online training homepage.


The following steps then apply to everyone completing this training

Please note that non-registered members of the pharmacy team will need to register with the NCSCT website in order to undertake the assessment. Registered pharmacy professionals who access the assessment via CPPE will not be asked to register in order to complete the assessment but will be asked to provide some additional candidate information.

When you are on the NCSCT online training homepage, access the Practitioner Training: Core competences in helping people stop smoking training programme on the right-hand side of the page, as shown here:


Work through this training programme.

Electronic cigarettes are covered within this training programme under ‘other treatments’. Reviewing this information will help you with any enquiries about using e-cigarettes to quit, though this form of support is not yet a formal aspect of the community pharmacy smoking cessation offer. For more information on e-cigarettes please see the Specialist modules tab below.

When you have finished this training programme, access the associated assessment by clicking the Assessment button on the left-hand side of the screen, as shown here:


Or by accessing the assessment via the NCSCT online training homepage via the link on the right-hand side of the screen, as shown here:


Once yuo have passed, your name will appear on the certified practitioner list on the NCSCT website and you will be eligible to take the Smoking in Pregnancy and the Post-Partum Period and Smoking and Mental Health specialty modules.

As per section 7 Community pharmacy requirements and responsibilities of the Service Specification, “Before providing the service, all practitioners are required to have observed a consultation by an experienced advisor and be observed providing the behavioural support element of a consultation.”

Level 3 – Declaration of Competence and Patient Group Direction

This level of the service can only be delivered by a pharmacist.

Pharmacists delivering a level 3 service are required to complete the Stop Smoking DoC and sign the PGD.

The DoC system has been developed to support you in assuring commissioners that you are service-ready and have the appropriate knowledge, skills and behaviours to deliver high-quality, consistent services.

In order to complete the Stop Smoking DoC, visit the CPPE Declaration of Competence page and select the 'Stop Smoking' service.

Please note that both the first level and second level service sections within the DoC framework need to be completed for you to provide this service.

The recommended learning and supporting assessments for this DoC include the CPPE Patient group directions e-learning and Patient group directions (2020) e-assessment. You can use this programme and assessment in order to prepare for signing the PGD for this service.

Specialist modules – NCSCT pregnancy and mental health

The following two programmes must be completed as part of service training.
There are two specialist modules available on the NCSCT site. These can only be accessed if you have passed core knowledge and skills assessment:

There is an NCSCT e-cigarette training module available: E-cigarettes: a guide for healthcare professionals. Currently this training can only be accessed via the NCSCT online training home page for England if you have not logged in via CPPE.

Any queries about this service should be directed to england.pharmacyintergration@nhs.net

  1. The CURE Project. Teaching Slides. https://thecureproject.co.uk/teaching-slides/
  2. NHS London Clinical Senate. Helping smokers quit. July 2016. www.londonsenate.nhs.uk/helping-smokers-quit/
  3. NHS. Online version of the NHS Long Term Plan. Chapter 2: More NHS action on prevention and health inequalities. Smoking. No date. www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/online-version/chapter-2-more-nhs-action-on-prevention-and-health-inequalities/smoking/
  4. Reid, R., Mullen, K., Slovinec D’Angelo, M., Aitken, D., Papadakis, S., Haley, P., McLaughlin, C. & Pipe, A. Smoking cessation for hospitalized smokers: An evaluation of the “Ottawa Model”. Nicotine & Tobacco Research.2010;12 (1), 11-18. https://doi.org/10.1093/ntr/ntp165
  5. NHS. NHS Smoking Cessation Service Pilot: Transfer of Care to Community Pharmacy from Secondary Care, Service Specification. 2020. www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/sites/default/files/2020-10/Smoking%20Cessation%20serviceSpecSLA_v1.docx