A series of resources to help pharmacists promote the incoming Pharmacy First service has been made available by Community Pharmacy England (CPE).

The launch date for the new service has been confirmed as 31 January, and CPE emphasised that for its self-referral (walk-in) aspect to be a success, the general public and patients need to know that it is available.

To help community pharmacists raise awareness, CPE has made a range of resources available for download, including posters, social media content, leaflets and a local press release.

Last week, NHS England announced that its own marketing campaign for Pharmacy First will launch in mid-February.

News of the publicity drive comes amid concerns that the public might be hesitant to embrace the Pharmacy First service.

William Pett, head of policy, public affairs and research at Healthwatch England, recently told the Health and Social Care Committee’s pharmacy inquiry that patients might still prefer to see a GP because they ‘don’t want to be bounced around services’.

He said: ‘We must accept that many patients are used to seeing their GP as their first port of call for many health conditions.

‘Pharmacy First is welcome, but there are going to be some restrictions on how quickly some patients are going to want to take up some of those services.’

However, concerns have also been raised over the ability of the already stretched community pharmacy sector to cope with increased patient demand from the service.

A recent survey by the Pharmacists’ Defence Association suggested that just 4% of pharmacy staff were ‘confident’ that the sector would be able to deliver Pharmacy First in addition to existing workload.

The survey also revealed concerns that the ‘hurried’ launch of the service could put staff at greater risk of abuse and violence from patients.