NHS England has told pharmacy providers that the NHS Urgent Medicine Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS) pilot is to be extended for another six months, until 30 September 2019.
In a letter to NUMSAS providers sent on 19 March 2019, NHS England said the pilot “has been extended as part of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework arrangements until 30 September 2019”.
The Pharmaceutical Negotiating Services Committee (PSNC) confirmed to The Pharmaceutical Journal that the extension is part of the interim contractual arrangements agreed on 8 March 2019.
The PSNC added that the long-term future of the service is expected to be discussed as part of the negotiations, which it says will begin in April 2019.
The pilot, in which NHS 111 refers patients requiring urgent access to a medicine to community pharmacy, was first launched on 1 December 2016 and has been extended twice before.
It was due to end in March 2018, but in November 2017 NHS England announced that the scheme would be extended for six months until September 2018 to allow for a “proper evaluation”.
In September 2018, health minister Steve Brine said the NUMSAS pilot would again be extended and run until the end of March 2019.
According to a letter sent to NUMSAS providers in February 2019, more than 4,170 community pharmacies have registered to provide the service, with NHS 111 referring a total of 196,588 cases to the NUMSAS between December 2016 and November 2018.