Getting ready to provide the Pharmacy First service

Pharmacy owner checklist: getting going with the Pharmacy First service

This checklist details the actions pharmacy owners can start to undertake to prepare to provide the Pharmacy First service, while waiting for further information and resources to be published. A list of important dates for the Pharmacy First service is also included in the Briefing.

Pharmacist checklist: getting going with the Pharmacy First service

This checklist details the actions pharmacists (including locums) can start to undertake to prepare to provide the Pharmacy First service, while waiting for further information and resources to be published.

Consultation room

Pharmacies must have a consultation room that will be used for the provision of the service which meets the requirements of the terms of service.

There must be IT equipment accessible within the consultation room to allow contemporaneous records of the consultations provided to be made within the NHS-assured Pharmacy First IT system (see below for further information on IT systems).

Where ear examinations are performed within the pharmacy, the pharmacist must use an otoscope. Consequently, all pharmacies providing the service (bar DSPs) must have an otoscope.

Guidance on selecting a suitable otoscope can be found in Annex C of the service specification.

Standard Operating Procedure

Pharmacy owners must have a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the service, which all staff participating in provision of the service must be familiar with and follow.

Various pharmacy support organisations provide template SOPs which their members can personalise for use in their pharmacy.

Competency and training requirements

The pharmacy owner must ensure that pharmacists providing the service are competent to do so, including the use of an otoscope (except for DSPs) and be familiar with the clinical pathways, clinical protocol and PGDs. This may involve completion of training.

The pharmacy owner must keep documentary evidence that pharmacy staff involved in the provision of the service are competent and remain up to date with regards to the specific skills and knowledge that are appropriate to their role, and to the aspects of the service they are delivering.

The Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) has a webpage which details training resources which may help pharmacists preparing to provide the service.

CPPE have also developed with NHS England a Pharmacy First self-assessment framework, which pharmacists can use to assess their knowledge in relation to the service and to identify any gaps in their knowledge, which need to be filled.

CPPE Pharmacy First page (including the Pharmacy First self-assessment framework)

CliniSkills also have online training for clinical examination skills (funded by NHS England) and there is also a webinar on Otoscope training in January 2024 –

The prior learning, knowledge and experience of each pharmacist will vary and consequently each individual will need to reflect on their own learning needs and identify any gaps in their knowledge which they need to fill.

Slides from Pharmacy First Info Sessions held in January 2024

Use these slides to help with getting your staff up to date with the service – LPC-f2f-Pharmacy-1st-events-jan2024-summary-slides-for-website-1

Select an IT system

As with the current Community Pharmacist Consultation Service, an NHS-assured Pharmacy First IT system, which meets the minimum digital requirements of the service (as specified within the Community Pharmacy Clinical Services Standard and including an application programming interface (API) to facilitate transfer of data into the NHSBSA MYS portal) must be used by pharmacy owners.

When choosing an IT supplier, pharmacy owners may want to refer to the NHS CPCS IT Buyers Guide.

These IT systems  allow pharmacy staff to make a clinical record for the service and the data in the record will then be used by the IT system to populate a claim for payment within the NHSBSA’s MYS platform.

The transfer of data via the API will happen throughout the month, as data is entered into the IT systems. The service provisions will then be available to view in MYS from the 1st of the following month. For example, service provisions in December will be available to view in MYS on 1st January. Pharmacy owners will then need to log into the MYS platform to check that the data matches the details in their IT system, and they will then need to submit their claim for payment.

The full dataset for the Pharmacy First service can be found in Annex B of the service specification.

The NHS-approved clinical IT system will also send messages containing a summary of the consultation to the patient’s general practice.

The following four IT suppliers are currently working with NHS England to develop their systems to include functionality to support the service, but over time, we expect other suppliers will add the service to their systems:

System and supplier
HxConsult (Positive Solutions)
Pharmacy Manager (Cegedim)
PharmOutcomes (Pinnacle Health)
Sonar health (Sonar informatics)

Read more about the IT requirements for all CPCF clinical services

Sign up to provide the service

Pharmacy owners must notify NHS England that they intend to provide the service by completion of an electronic registration through the NHS Business Services Authority’s (NHSBSA) Manage Your Service (MYS) portal.

Registrations will open on 1st December 2023. Further information is included in the Funding and claiming payment section below.

Withdrawal from the service

If the pharmacy owner wishes to stop providing the service, they must notify NHS England that they are no longer going to provide the service via the MYS platform, giving at least 30 days’ notice prior to the cessation of the service. The pharmacy owner may be asked for their reason for withdrawal from the service.