Tier 1 and 2 pilot sites
NHS Pharmacy Contraception Service Pilot – access to oral contraception
NHS community pharmacies are an accessible and convenient place for people to receive advice and support for contraception. We are testing the option of people being able to have a confidential consultation with a community pharmacist to request a prescription of the contraceptive pill either for the first time, or to access their next supply of oral contraception directly from their pharmacist, rather than from their GP or sexual health clinic.
Tier 1 – This service is for people who are already taking the oral contraceptive pill and require an ongoing supply.
Tier 2 – This service is for people who are not currently taking an oral contraceptive pill.
What the service will provide
A person may self-refer or be referred by their GP or sexual health clinic to a participating pharmacy either start the oral contraceptive pill or to continue their contraception management in a community pharmacy setting. The pharmacist will conduct a confidential consultation with the person and, pending clinical appropriateness, issue a supply of oral contraception.
How people access the service
People access the service by one of the following routes:
- Identified as clinically suitable by the community pharmacy team;
- Self-refer to a community pharmacy;
- Referred by their GP practice as they have requested a repeat prescription, and a review is needed;
- Referred by their GP practice as they have been identified as requiring an appointment to discuss the initial supply of a contraceptive pill
- Referred from a sexual health clinic.
To be eligible to access this service a person must:
- Have consented to the referral where appropriate and to participate in the pilot service model.
- Require a clinical check appointment before further supplies of ongoing oral contraception are authorised.
- Wish to discuss the initial supply of a contraceptive pill
People who wish to consult another healthcare provider for contraception support are still free to do so. People being referred into this service must have already agreed to be referred to community pharmacy as part of the pilot.
The aim of the pilot
The aim of this pilot is to create additional capacity in primary care and sexual health clinics and provide improved access for patients.
- To test a model for community pharmacy teams to continue, review and supply the provision of contraception supplies initiated in primary care or sexual health clinics.
- To test a model of initiation of hormonal oral contraceptives in community pharmacy.
- To test an integrated pathway between existing services and community pharmacies to allow people greater choice and access when considering their current form of contraception.
- Better access to services and support for high-risk communities and vulnerable patients.
- To identify a data set that should be shared with the community pharmacy to support the referral process and feedback loop to the GP-held patient record where appropriate (with relevant consent).
Following positive evaluation, the pilot may expand to include management of long acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) such as implants, vaginal rings, injections and patches via a community pharmacy. Intra-uterine devices and systems (IUDs/IUSs) are not included as part of this service.