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Pharmacy First Toolkit: Introduction

The Pharmacy First service became available from community pharmacies in England from January 31, 2024. It allows pharmacy teams to complete episodes of care including provision of advice and NHS funded treatment where appropriate for seven common conditions. Use this toolkit as your indispensable service implementation guide. Compiled by Patrick Grice.

Pharmacy First is an Advanced Service for community pharmacy contractors in England. It started on January 31, 2024. The service incorporates the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service and additionally enables community pharmacies to provide advice and NHS-funded treatment – where clinically appropriate – for seven common conditions.

  • Sore throat
  • Sinusitis
  • Uncomplicated UTIs
  • Shingles
  • Impetigo
  • Infected insect bites
  • Acute otitis media.


The NHS Long Term Plan highlighted the need to boost out-of-hospital care and to reduce pressure on urgent and emergency care. It also committed to make greater use of community pharmacists’ skills and opportunities to engage patients.

The Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) was commissioned as an Advanced Service in October 2019, taking referrals from NHS 111 or Integrated Urgent Care Clinical Assessment Services (IUC CAS).

The service was subsequently extended to cover referrals for minor illness from GP settings, and referrals from 999 services, 111Online, and other urgent and emergency care settings for minor illness and urgent repeat medication.

In May 2023, NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) published the Delivery Plan for Recovering Access to Primary Care and committed to expanding the role of community pharmacy by supporting the management of seven common conditions.

The new Pharmacy First service incorporates the CPCS (both urgent medicines supply and minor illness elements) and builds on this to enable community pharmacy to complete episodes of care for seven common conditions.

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