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Stop smoking hospital referral service to start on March 10


Stop smoking hospital referral service to start on March 10

The new nationally commissioned community pharmacy smoking cessation service will start on March 10, the PSNC has said.

The negotiator said that from March 1 contractors will be able to sign up to the service – which involves referrals to pharmacy from secondary care – via the NHSBSA’s Manage Your Service portal.

Along with the hypertension casefinding service, which launched last year, the service is one of two Advanced services resulting from negotiations for Year 3 of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework.

The PSNC said it anticipates a slow start to the service, with pharmacy teams managing winter workload spikes as well as the Pharmacy Quality Scheme, and NHS trust expected to take some time to start making pharmacy referrals. 

The NHS anticipates that most trusts will be “making referrals within two years from the commencement date,” said the negotiator, stressing that the service is optional for pharmacies.

The PSNC advised contractors to “consider the likelihood that they will receive sufficient referrals to make provision of the service practical and worthwhile,” and to contact their LPC for an assessment of their local NHS trust’s readiness.

While the service can only be delivered by a pharmacist at present due to VAT exemption rules, the negotiator said it is working with HM Revenue to explore possible amendments to allow support staff to provide it, as is common with locally commissioned stop smoking services.

PSNC services director Alastair Buxton said: “Community pharmacy has a long record of supporting people to stop smoking, including through locally commissioned services. This is an enormously important intervention to improve the health of individuals and to tackle health inequalities within our society.

“In addition to allowing pharmacies to help more individuals, the SCS has a strategic importance within the CPCF: it is another clear demonstration of how community pharmacy can support the health of the nation, collaborate with NHS trusts and support the future sustainability of the NHS. It will also help to further integrate pharmacies into wider healthcare pathways, in line with NHS ambitions.

“We are, however, within the early days of the rollout of the Ottawa model within hospitals, so there will be no big-bang start for the service and it will likely take two years for referrals to reach a steady state. Contractors must bear that in mind, as well as the local situation with their nearby hospitals, when deciding whether to provide the service.”

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