There are currently ‘no plans’ to add to the seven common conditions covered by the incoming Pharmacy First service, the government has confirmed.

Responding to a series of written questions from Peter Dowd, Labour MP for Bootle, the new pharmacy minister Andrea Leadsom outlined details of the service, listing the seven conditions – sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bite, impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women – covered by the scheme.

In her reply, Ms Leadsom added: ‘At present, there are no plans to expand the seven conditions.’

The pharmacy minister also said that the service will launch on the scheduled date of 31 January 2024 ‘subject to the IT underpinning the service being complete’.

The update from the new minister comes as Community Pharmacy England (CPE) begins its series of webinars to help pharmacy owners and their teams prepare for the launch of Pharmacy First, as well as changes to the contraception and hypertension case-finding services which start today.

In a webinar earlier this week, CPE admitted concerns over the minimum number of consultations required for pharmacies to receive full funding for the Pharmacy First scheme.

In addition, the negotiator vowed to keep a close eye on how the common conditions service develops, acknowledging that the scheme represents a ‘step into the unknown’ for the sector.