The NHS Urgent Medicine Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS) has been extended for a further six months, the pharmacy minister Steve Brine has confirmed.
In a written Parliamentary answer, Brine said the service will run until the end of March 2019, although it
will still exist only in pilot form.
NUMSAS, which provides a community pharmacy emergency supply service via NHS 111, was phased in from December 2016 using money from the Pharmacy Integration Fund.
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 his response to a Parliamentary question from former Conservative Party chair, Grant Shapps, Brine said that internal NHS figures showed that 19.2% of patients who used the urgent medicine service would otherwise use an urgent care centre, such as A&E, if the NUMSAS scheme did not otherwise exist.
The NUMSAS scheme is voluntary for pharmacies to register, and The Pharmaceutical Journal understands that figures from June 2018 show that around 4,000 pharmacies had signed up to provide the NUMSAS service.
In July 2018 The Pharmaceutical Journal revealed that April 2018 data showed that 2.5% of all calls to NHS 111 were referred to pharmacy, compared with less than 1% in April 2015.