Around 2,500 community pharmacies in England have already registered to provide the NHS Urgent Medicine Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS) pilot, as of 2 October.

The scheme means that pharmacies can make emergency supplies to patients who run out of their medication or appliances after they have been referred by the NHS 111 service.

The pilot was commissioned by NHS England in December 2016 to help urgent and emergency care services deal with urgent medication requests and release the pressures they’re faced with.

Showing value of pharmacy

NUMSAS is part of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee’s (PSNC) counter proposal to the government’s plans for pharmacy funding cuts.

Sue Sharpe, PSNC chief executive, said: ‘The proposals were and remain, founded on ignorance of the value of pharmacies to local communities, to the NHS, and to social care, and will do great damage to all three.

‘PSNC remains keen to work with the NHS on changes to the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework that will allow the development of clinical community pharmacy services so that patients and the NHS can get the most benefit and best value from community pharmacy.’

The requests for urgent medications represent around 2% of all NHS 111 calls. By shifting the demand from GP out of hour providers (OOH), PSNC hopes that the pilot will generate savings in the NHS expenses on OOH services.

As of July 2017, 26% of NHS 111 referrals were made via NUMSAS across England, with almost 13,000 items being supplied by pharmacies in seven months.

NHS England will commission a qualitative review of pharmacy staff, patients and NHS 111 staff, when the pilot stops running in March 2018, and consider more options for further systems.