Evaluation of Clinical Services in Community Pharmacy

Medic measuring patient blood pressure in a community pharmacy, photo by Dragos Condrea/Adobe Stock.

Photo by DC Studio/Adobe Stock

What is the issue?

Community pharmacies are an important part of the healthcare system in England. Historically, community pharmacies have focused on obtaining and dispensing medicines. However, over time community pharmacies’ services have grown to include clinical services. This shift aims to increase the role of community pharmacies in delivering primary care services and addressing capacity issues and access challenges.1

In 2019, NHS England introduced the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF), which is a contractual agreement between NHS England and community pharmacies to provide specific clinical services to the public.

These services include: contraception (birth-control or oral contraception/the ‘pill’) consultation service; blood pressure checks; support with using newly prescribed medications for a long-term condition (e.g., asthma); support with using medications after hospital discharge; stop smoking support after hospital discharge; and influenza vaccinations.

As the strain on healthcare services in the UK rises, the potential for pharmacies to help improve access to clinical services is becoming more important. The recent rollout of Pharmacy First signifies greater involvement of pharmacies in delivering clinical services.2

How are we helping?

We were commissioned by NHS England to evaluate clinical services provided under the CPCF, focusing on the experiences of pharmacists, pharmacy staff, contractors, other healthcare professionals in delivering clinical services and the public who use these services.

Our aim is to learn about:

  1. How are CPCF clinical services working, how have they progressed, and what are the successes, opportunities, and challenges in providing these services?
  2. What are the key factors that impact on service delivery related to commissioning/contract arrangements?
  3. How do CPCF clinical services, if at all, meet the needs of diverse populations? How can services be modified to better support service-users access, engagement, and health equity?

Findings from this evaluation will help to inform how these services are provided in community pharmacies in the future.