A pharmacy-led urgent supply service saw more than 66,000 referrals in just over a year, according to NHS England.

There were 66,191 referrals to community pharmacies registered to provide the NHS Urgent Medicines Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS) between December 2016 and March 2018, the commissioning body told contractors offering the service on Friday (May 31).

The 3,857 community pharmacies registered to provide the service as of 28 May dispensed 72,676 items during the same period, NHS England said.

The NUMSAS was commissioned by NHS England in October 2016 with money from the Pharmacy Integration Fund (PhIF).


Requests denied


Controlled drugs accounted for just 3.8% of the items requested by patients using the service, and pharmacists offering NUMSAS can decline to supply the medication requested if they feel the request is inappropriate, NHS England said.

A quarter (18,528) of NUMSAS cases between December 2016 and 2018 were recorded as 'no supply'. The most common reason for this was that the pharmacist considered there was 'no urgent clinical need for the prescription items'.