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NHS Community Pharmacy Contraception Service Pilot

This pilot has 2 tiers.

Tier 1 of the pilot will run from 30 September 2021 to 31 March 2023.

Tier 2 of the pilot will run from October 2022 to 30 September 2023 with the possibility of extension.

The routine monitoring of patients taking oral contraception was flagged as a prevention service as part of a repeat prescription process linked with general practice. This pilot is the first step in testing a model with the potential for:

  • community pharmacies to provide more access to ongoing oral contraception (Tier 1)
  • exploring the possibility of community pharmacies initiating access to contraception (Tier 2) and recognising it as a place to support wider patient choice and create capacity

The purpose of Tier 1 of the pilot is to test a model for community pharmacy teams to continue the supply of oral contraception for people who have previously had a supply initiated in general practice or sexual health clinics. It’s not a replacement for local authority commissioned services.

The purpose of Tier 2 of the pilot is to test a model for community pharmacy teams to initiate the supply of oral contraception for people wishing to start oral contraception. It’s not a replacement for local authority commissioned services.

The pilot will implement and test an integrated pathway between existing services and community pharmacies to allow people more choice and access when considering either:

  • continuing their current form of oral contraception (Tier 1)
  • initiating a form of oral contraception (Tier 2)

An evaluation of the service will be done by using quantitative and qualitative measures, including:

  • service user experience
  • the experience of pharmacy staff, primary care and sexual health professionals

This service is to be provided as well as ‘Promotion of healthy lifestyles’ (Public Health).

Aim of the service

The pilot aims to create more capacity in primary care and sexual health clinics by allowing oral contraception access to be available through a community pharmacy. This is to relieve the burden on wider primary care and sexual health clinics and provide improved access for patients.

Objectives of the service

The objectives are to:

  • test an integrated pathway between existing services and community pharmacies to allow people greater choice and access when considering continuing their current form of contraception
  • create better access to services and support for high-risk communities and vulnerable patients
  • identify a data set that should be shared with the community pharmacy to support the referral process and feedback loop to the GP-held patient record where appropriate (with relevant consent)
  • evaluate the Tier 1 and Tier 2 service model exploring the experience of service users, pharmacy staff and primary care and sexual health professionals and the preferred care model of the service within community pharmacies

In Tier 1 these objectives also include testing a model for community pharmacy teams to continue, review and supply the provision of contraception supplies initiated in primary care or sexual health clinics.

In Tier 2 these objectives also include testing a model for community pharmacy teams to initiate and supply the provision of oral contraception supplies.

This service will be piloted in selected primary care networks (PCNs) in the following areas only:

  • South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw
  • NE Lincolnshire
  • Hull CCGs within Humber, Coast and Vale
  • Cumbria and NE
  • Lancashire and South Cumbria
  • Suffolk and NE Essex ICS
  • Staffordshire

Contractors eligible to take part in this pilot will be contacted by their NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) regional team.

Service level agreement for Access to Ongoing Oral Contraception Management through PGD (Tier 1) (Word: 796KB)Service level agreement for Access to Oral Contraception through PGD (Tier 2) (Word: 189KB)​​​​​

What the service will provide

In Tier 1 of the pilot the pharmacy will conduct a clinical check for people who need a repeat prescription of their regular oral contraceptive pill and, if clinically appropriate provide a repeat supply.

In Tier 2 of the pilot the pharmacy will conduct a clinical check for people who request the initiation of an oral contraceptive pill and, if clinically appropriate, make a supply.

In both tiers, community pharmacists will offer to discuss alternative contraceptive methods and share information about how a person could change to a new method.

People who wish to consult another healthcare provider for contraception support still can. People being referred to this service will have already agreed to be referred to a community pharmacy.

Register to provide the service

Pharmacy contractors can register for these services if they are:

  • intending to provide the service:
    • between 30 September 2021 and 31 March 2023 for Tier 1
    • between 30 September 2022 and 30 September 2023 for Tier 2
  • compliant with the Essential Services elements of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF)
  • in good standing with NHSEI
  • located within the agreed pilot footprint
  • invited by email to participate by the NHSEI regional teams
  • registered to provide the service
  • able to comply with all the elements described in the service specification
  • able to offer face to face appointments inside a confidential consultation room that complies with relevant GPhC standards, this includes distance selling pharmacies  

In addition, to register for Tier 2 of the pilot pharmacy contractors must also have a pharmacist who has successfully completed and recorded 10 or more Tier 1 consultations.

Register for contraception management Tier 1 through PGDRegister for contraception management Tier 2 through PGDRemote live video consultations are also allowed for all community pharmacies. When delivering remote consultations, the contractor must make sure staff and people accessing the service can communicate securely and confidentially by live video and audio link. Any contractor providing remote consultations must comply with the principles defined in the GPhC guidance for registered pharmacies providing pharmacy services at a distance, including on the internet.

If agreed with the Commissioner, the service can be delivered from a suitable location outside a consultation room. It must follow infection control requirements for coronavirus (COVID-19) and remain confidential.

If the pilot is extended, pharmacy contractors will continue to provide this service unless they opt out. An opt out process will be detailed in the run-up to the extension. This does not prevent pharmacists from opting out earlier.

You must register your pharmacy’s details with NHS England and NHS Improvement. As this is an online signup, there’s no need to return a signed SLA to NHS England and NHS Improvement.