The NHS Urgent Medicine Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS) pilot scheme has been extended until the end of March 2019, pharmacy minister Steve Brine has confirmed.

The NUMSAS scheme, which is funded by the Pharmacy Integration Fund, transfers patients’ urgent medicine requests from NHS 111 to community pharmacies.

Mr Brine confirmed it would be extended in a response to a question from Conservative MP Grant Shapps regarding what assessment had been made of the effectiveness of community pharmacies in keeping NHS patients out of hospital.

Mr Brine responded that the Government “is encouraging a much greater use of community pharmacies” and that an evaluation of two NUMSAS pilots had shown that many who used the service would otherwise have attended an urgent care centre.

An extension has been agreed until 31 March 2018, Mr Brine said, adding that “three further pilots to the minor illness referral service are due to be launched in the autumn”.

NHS England has updated the service specification to reflect the extension and to set out the following changes:

  • Community pharmacy teams are required to have access to Summary Care Records (SCRs)
  • The SCR should be accessed during the telephone or face-to-face consultation with the patient
  • If the SCR was not accessed, the reason for not doing so must be recorded.

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