The expanded Pharmacy Contraception Service is ‘not only about pharmacists’ as the ‘whole team has a role to play’, viewers of a Community Pharmacy England (CPE) webinar have been told.

The expansion of the contraception service went live on 1 December, meaning pharmacists can now initiate oral contraception, as well as continue to provide ongoing management of oral contraception that was initiated in general practice or a sexual health clinic.

CPE has produced a webinar for pharmacists initiating the expanded service and one of the speakers emphasised the need for a whole-team mindset in making the best use of a mix of skills.

Emma Anderson, a practising clinical services pharmacist and tutor at the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE), urged pharmacists to ‘invest in your pharmacy technicians’.

Ms Anderson said relevant training would allow pharmacy technicians to ‘be able to take a leadership role in your team’ and support the contraception service and other elements of the upcoming Pharmacy First scheme.

According to Ms Anderson – who recommended the CPPE Community pharmacy technician: advancing your role programme – the wider team can offer valuable support with tasks related to recruitment and administration.

The CPE webinar – called Pharmacy Contraception Service: Initiating contraception – offers an overview of the new service.

Prior to its launch, the changes were trialled in a tier 2 pilot, which was run alongside the prior (tier 1) service and is now being integrated into the full expansion.

Ms Evans, who practises as a community pharmacist independent prescriber for Evans Pharmacy in the East Midlands, provided some tips for pharmacists based on her experience of the tier 2 pilot.

These include involving the team in taking weight and height measurements, as well as blood pressure monitoring.

Ms Anderson also recommended that pharmacists consider initiating an appointment system – which is not an obligation of the service – as well as the use of remote consultations.

Kirsty Armstrong, pharmacy integration lead for NHS England, also shared lessons from the tier 2 pilot, revealing that ‘lack of promotion’ was among the factors found to be inhibiting activity in the service.

David Onuoha, service development manager for CPE, told the webinar that promoting the service will be ‘critical’ to making a success of its delivery.

‘NHS England is going to update their posters, leaflets and digital media that were used in tier 1 and in some of the pilots so that they can be used by all pharmacy owners to promote the service,’ he revealed.

He also said these materials would be made accessible via the CPE website as soon they were released, and drew attention to flyers already available.

The full webinar is available to watch via the CPE website.

Updated specifications for the extended contraception service were recently published by NHS England.