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NHS Smoking Cessation Service - Referral from Secondary Care into Community Pharmacy

The NHS Smoking Cessation Service is a nationally commissioned advanced Service as part of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework. This service follows on from the Smoking Cessation Transfer of Care pilots which commenced in November 2020.

In line with commitments outlined in Chapter 2 of the NHS Long Term Plan to make England a smoke-free society, patients admitted to an acute NHS trust with an established Tobacco Dependency service will be offered smoking cessation support during their admission. By March 2024, everyone admitted to hospital should be offered NHS funded tobacco treatment services.

The smoking status of all admitted patients is determined and evidence-based smoking cessation support for 12 weeks is offered including follow up after patient discharge.

The NHS Smoking Cessation Service in community pharmacy will allow NHS trusts to refer patients to a pharmacy of their choice so they can receive continuing treatment, advice and support with their attempt to quit smoking when they are discharged. The Smoking Cessation Service connects acute NHS trusts with primary care by using the accessible network and skills available within community pharmacies that have registered to deliver the service.

Aim of the Service

The Smoking Cessation Service aims to:

  • address the gap in the handover between secondary care and primary care transferring the care and creating additional smoking cessation capacity in primary care
  • reduce morbidity and mortality from smoking and to reduce health inequalities associated with higher rates of smoking

The objective of the service is to ensure patients referred by NHS trusts to community pharmacy receive a consistent and effective offer, in line with NICE Guidelines NG209.  

What the service will provide

The Smoking Cessation Service offers patients ongoing consultations that will include the provision of behavioural support, as well as the supply of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). This service must be provided by an appropriately trained pharmacist.

How patients access the service

Only patients who have been referred during their discharge from an acute NHS trust are eligible to receive advice and treatment under this service.

An electronic transfer of data to support the referral will be sent from the NHS trust to a community pharmacy of the patient’s choice that is registered for this Advanced Service.

Patients who wish to consult another healthcare provider for smoking cessation support when they are discharged, are still free to do so. Patients being referred through this pathway have already agreed to be referred to a community pharmacy.

Guidance on consultations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Contractors are requested to follow current guidance from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) from November 2020 and updated in January 2021, as on the NCSCT website, until the guidance changes.

Pharmacies providing this service will be expected to follow the guidance available from the NCSCT and CPPE on remote consultations.

Registration for the Smoking Cessation Service

Pharmacy contractors can register to provide the Advanced Service from 1 March 2022. The service will start to be rolled out in community pharmacies across the country from 10 March 2022.  

Pharmacies that have previously registered for the pilots in Oldham and Lambeth and Southwark will need to register to move across to the Advanced Service. There will be no automatic transfer from the pilot to the Smoking Cessation Service.

Claiming for the Smoking Cessation Service

From 10 March 2022, pharmacy contractors who have registered for the service will be able to submit a claim for the reimbursement of products supplied and fees for consultations provided. Moving forward, these claims will be submitted on the Manage Your Service (MYS) system, but while work is conducted to finalise this, there will be an interim process that contractors should follow.

Contractors should download and complete the Smoking Cessation Service claim form (Excel: 35KB). They should send it to nhsbsa.mys@nhs.net by the 5th day of the month following the month the claim was made for. For example, claims in July 2022 should be submitted by 5 August 2022.

Reimbursement for products supplied and consultations provided will take place in the prescription month of when the claims were submitted. For example, claims in March 2022 will be reimbursed alongside the March 2022 prescription month.

You can read the advanced service specification on the NHS England website.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy list

As detailed in the Drug Tariff determination (PDF:78KB), there are 30 Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products that can be claimed for. The indicative reimbursement price for each product is based on a reference product as set out in the NRT list (Excel: 30KB).

This list also provides options of alternative products that can be supplied against each of the 30 products, if applicable. Contractors who supply these alternative products should note they can only claim, and be reimbursed for, the products listed in the Drug Tariff determination.