Drafts of the 23 patient group directions (PGDs) and one protocol for the Pharmacy First service have now been published by NHS England.

This follows the release earlier in the week of service specifications and the clinical pathways for the seven common conditions included in the scheme – uncomplicated urinary tract infection (UTI) in women, shingles, impetigo, infected insect bites, acute sore throat, acute sinusitis, and acute otitis media (AOM).

The PGDs and one protocol are to be used by pharmacists to authorise supply of medicines at NHS expense following a consultation for one of the seven conditions covered by the Pharmacy First service – due to launch on 31 January 2024.

Published alongside the hydrogen peroxide cream impetigo protocol are the following PGDs:

  • Aciclovir shingles
  • Amoxicillin AOM
  • Clarithromycin sinusitis
  • Clarithromycin AOM
  • Clarithromycin impetigo
  • Clarithromycin infected insect bites
  • Clarithromycin sore throat
  • Doxycycline sinusitis
  • Erythromycin AOM
  • Erythromycin impetigo
  • Erythromycin infected insect bites
  • Erythromycin sinusitis
  • Erythromycin sore throat
  • Flucloxacillin impetigo
  • Flucloxacillin infected insect bites
  • Fluticasone nasal spray sinusitis
  • Fusidic acid cream impetigo
  • Mometasone nasal spray sinusitis
  • Nitrofurantoin UTI
  • Otigo AOM
  • Phenoxymethylpenicillin sinusitis
  • Phenoxymethylpenicillin sore throat
  • Valaciclovir shingles

In a webinar earlier this week, Community Pharmacy England (CPE) vowed to keep a close eye on how the Pharmacy First service develops, acknowledging that the scheme represents a ‘step into the unknown’ for the sector.

CPE chief executive Janet Morrison assured pharmacists the negotiator would be ‘actively managing and monitoring’ delivery of the service and also remaining vigilant over workload pressures.

‘We don’t know how many consultations will be coming through the door [and] we don’t know the seasonality of when people will be coming through the door… but obviously we want it to be a success,’ said Ms Morrison.

Meanwhile, new pharmacy minister Dame Andrea Leadsom confirmed there were 'no plans' to expand the seven common conditions under Pharmacy First 'at present'.