Community pharmacies in England must sign up with an IT supplier for Pharmacy First by Friday 19 January in order to be listed as providing the service when it launches in two weeks’ time.

They must also sign up to provide Pharmacy First on the Manage Your Service (MYS) portal – which supports with reimbursement and remuneration tasks – by tomorrow.

The Pharmacist understands that patients will be able to find a participating pharmacy via the NHS website when it launches.

NHS England told contractors on a Community Pharmacy England (CPE) webinar this week that in order to show as ‘live’ on internal and patient-facing systems on 31 January, community pharmacies must have signed up on MYS and to an IT supplier by this Friday.

Pharmacies must have an agreement in place or be signed up to use one of the NHS-assured Pharmacy First IT systems: Cegedim, PharmOutcomes, Positive Solutions or Sonar Informatics.

NHSE is working with these four suppliers to get the systems ready, CPE confirmed.

And the negotiator said that a ‘significant amount of work’ is still ongoing to get NHS, pharmacy and general practice IT systems ready to support the service.

CPE revealed that a decision on whether IT systems will be ready to support the scheduled launch of the Pharmacy First service will be made shortly. The outcome of the assessment will then be communicated by NHSE to pharmacy owners.

Pharmacy First is due to start on 31 January 2024, subject to the required IT systems being in place.

A spokesperson for NHSE confirmed to The Pharmacist earlier this week that progress was being made on implementing the IT systems in community pharmacy and that the project was on track to be in place in time for a 31 January launch.

The Pharmacist understands that NHSE will share more information with community pharmacies next week.

Existing NHS-assured IT support for the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) is being updated to incorporate the new elements of Pharmacy First, as well as additional IT functionality developed to support the service.

CPE said the four CPCS IT system providers have all confirmed that any pharmacy’s contract to use a CPCS IT system will carry over to the supplier’s new Pharmacy First IT system at the commencement of the service, unless the pharmacy owner opts to use another supplier for Pharmacy First.