Agreement on new common conditions service for England expected by end of July 2023

Community Pharmacy England has said work is underway "at pace" to develop the payment system for the new Pharmacy First-style service in England.
Pharmacy sign with green cross

Negotiations for the new common conditions service in England are expected to be concluded by the end of July 2023, Community Pharmacy England (CPE) has said.

In a statement published on 4 July 2023, Janet Morrison, chief executive of CPE, said the organisation was working “at pace” with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England to develop the design and payment system for the new service, which is to be similar to the Scottish ‘Pharmacy First’ service.

“The process remains on track with the government’s original timescale — i.e. aiming for agreement in July [2023], with cross-government clearance later in July, and implementation from July through to September [2023],” she said.

The government announced in May 2023 that an English version of Pharmacy First would be introduced before the end of 2023.

As part of a plan for recovering access to primary care, published by the DHSC and NHS England in May 2023, £645m in extra funding was promised for community pharmacy over the next two years, some of which will fund the nationwide minor ailments service that will cover seven common health conditions, including earache, sore throat and urinary tract infections.

In the CPE statement, Morrison said negotiations were ongoing across several strands of the service.

“We are involved in working groups on service expansion of hypertension case-finding and the pharmacy contraception scheme and service design for the common conditions service; and are in in-depth negotiations on payment models. These discussions critically look at the balance between funding core capacity and activity payments, how the funding streams will be distributed and how we will measure delivery and impact.

“NHS England has been leading on the development of the patient group direction pathways for each of the seven conditions, with external medical, pharmacy and other experts feeding into the process — pharmacy owners from the CPE committee have also been involved but the discussions are clinically led to ensure they comply with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence principles and concur with antimicrobial stewardship policy.

“We have also been represented on the digital infrastructure working group led by NHS England with system suppliers working on interoperability of GP and pharmacy systems to support pathways for the common conditions service — these are essential to the service’s start date.

“The negotiations are complex and critical since we hope they will have implications for the foundations of the next contractual framework so it’s vital that we approach them with rigour and aim to future proof payment structures. We are working at pace but the process and timing of negotiations are not in our gift — they involve a number of stakeholders across government and NHS England.”

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, July 2023, Vol 311, No 7975;311(7975)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2023.1.190470

    Please leave a comment 

    You may also be interested in