NHS England has tendered for a contract worth £250,000 to evaluate clinical services provided by community pharmacies, in advance of the next community pharmacy contract.
In documents published as part of the tender package on 2 October 2023, NHS England said the evaluation will be a qualitative analysis of advanced clinical services that are nationally commissioned through the community pharmacy contractual framework (CPCF). The current five-year CPCF is due to end in 2024.
Advanced services include the community pharmacist consultation service, pharmacy contraception service and the hypertension case-finding service.
The documents said the evaluation, which is due to take place between January and September 2024, will sit alongside its own quantitative analysis of advanced services.
In September 2022, Community Pharmacy England and the Department of Health and Social Care agreed to an independent economic review of community pharmacy as part of the deal for the final two years of the CPCF.
In January 2023, NHS England tendered for a contract worth £500,000 to conduct an economic review of community pharmacy, which it said would inform the NHS’s “future clinical strategy” for the sector.
The tender document for the qualitative evaluation said it will “identify the types of service where community pharmacy is likely to be successful in the future, and could further support system delivery across integrated clinical pathways” and “understand the patterns and trends of what influences the success of clinical services in community pharmacy”.
“This evaluation of clinical services will therefore provide NHS England with the information required to make effective decisions regarding clinical services for the future community pharmacy sector,” the tender document said.
“This evidence is essential for the community pharmacy policy team within NHS England to create a future strategy for community pharmacy in terms of clinical services and to be able to use this to inform future business cases. It will also inform future community pharmacy negotiations with the sector by providing evidence and detailed research behind current clinical services.”
The evaluation will cover all CPCF advanced clinical services, national vaccination services and the discharge medicine service, and will include an analysis of the provision of clinical services by distance-selling pharmacies, the document said.
However, it added that locally-commissioned services, and services still at the pilot stage, will not be included in the evaluation, although it could look at how locally and nationally commissioned services interact.
Community Pharmacy England said it had no comment to make on the tender.