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London LPC to launch NHS-funded self care scheme in coming months

Pharmacy News

London LPC to launch NHS-funded self care scheme in coming months

Community Pharmacy North East London is preparing to launch a self care scheme funded by the local Integrated Care Board, CPNEL chief executive Shilpa Shah told the Sigma Pharmaceuticals conference today (February 28) as she urged contractors to work with their LPCs.

Ms Shah said the scheme’s inception came in July 2022 when she invited the ICB chief medical officer to visit local pharmacies and he was “astounded by what we can do”.

“He said, if there was one thing that he could do what would it be. We explained that at that point the issue we were having with the CPCS was that people were coming into community pharmacy and with the areas that we are in being quite deprived, they couldn’t afford any of the OTC medication.”

“We started talking to him about a self care scheme, and this was eventually signed off in November 2023,” said Ms Shah, stressing that the process of local service development “takes time”.

The scheme, which comes “off the back of Pharmacy First,” will allow patient who cannot afford OT medicines to access them for free, said Ms Shah, adding that it is expected to boost Pharmacy First consultations locally. The scheme is slated for an April launch.

Ms Shah urged pharmacies to get in touch with their LPCs: “We need to hear from you what’s happening on the ground and what services you would like in your area so that we can go and advocate for you and get those services.”

CPNEL has had 8,400 referrals via Pharmacy First since the service launched, not including walk-in consultations for the seven common conditions included in the service, said Ms Shah.

Liaising with the ICS and explaining how the service can help it meet its targets has been crucial in gaining buy-in from commissioners, she said, adding that the local ICB – which she described as having a £70m deficit – has funded IT support to help launch the service, as well as paying for staff to visit local GP surgeries to explain the service to them. “They can see the benefit of spending in some of these areas,” she said.

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