Negotiations in progress over national minor ailment service

PSNC and NHS Employers in talks over introducing national scheme for community pharmacy.

Negotiations are taking place to introduce a national minor ailment service in England, which could see community pharmacies commissioned to provide advice and treatment for common conditions.

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) confirmed on 7 May 2015 that it is in talks with NHS Employers over potentially rolling out a new service across England.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) said the talks showed “significant progress” had been made in its campaign calling for the service to be introduced.

In
a statement
, t
he PSNC says it has “long believed that a national minor ailments service would benefit patients, pharmacies and the NHS by giving patients access to advice and treatments for minor conditions without the need for them to visit their GP or another urgent care service”.

The committee says any service introduced should encourage patients to use it as an alternative to seeing their GP for minor conditions and to promote self care. It adds: “This will require the provision of evidence-based advice and support alongside the supply of appropriate medication. Such a service would require high quality data capture to ensure clinical records are adeq
uat
e and that the impact of the service can be assessed, so it is vital that the costs of this are fully recognised and accounted for.

The RPS
called for a national minor ailment service in a campaign over urgent and emergency care
, launched in October 2014. It publicised research that showe
d a national service could save the NHS £1bn a year by treating patients in pharmacy rather than general practice or A&E.


“This is significant progress against one of the RPS English board’s urgent care campaign key objectives,” says Neal Patel, RPS spokesperson. “We hope that the promotion of the evidence of the care pharmacists can provide for those with minor ailments by the RPS, coupled with support from GPs and patients, has helped move the thinking within NHS England on an NHS minor ailment
s scheme through pharmacy.”

He adds that the RPS will participate in the NHS England urgent care delivery group to ensure any service agreed in negotiations is well supported.

A spokesperson for NHS Employ
ers says: 
“W
e are in discussion with PSNC about a number of potential changes for 2015–20
16, including the possible introduction of a national community pharmacy minor ailments service. It would be inappropriate to comment furthe
r on the content of the ongoing negotiations.”

Last updated
Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, May 2015;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20068507