Pharmacy First Programme

Please find below the Dear Colleague that I have received from the Government concerning the Pharmacy First Programme.


ICB Name Number of community
pharmacies opted into
Pharmacy First as of
end of 28 January 2023


  1. Cheshire+Girl
    February 13, 2024

    That sounds wonderful – if it works.

    My small Pharmacy is always very busy, giving very good service. I sometimes struggle to see how they would be able to take on any more work, however willing they were.

  2. Bloke
    February 13, 2024

    Pharmacists prescribing and supplying the products they sell is like salesmen writing their own purchase orders.
    Just as train journey speeds and independent safety officers pull in opposite directions for optimum performance, health should similarly be disciplined to avoid conflict of interest and zealous pursuit of sales income.

  3. Peter Gardner
    February 13, 2024

    If this plan shifts work away from GPs and health centres onto pharmacies it would be logical for the £645 million to come out of the NHS budget. Is that the case, or is it additional money needed to provide additional services due to the expanding population, 60- 65% of which is immigration, and which would otherwise overwhelm the NHS? If the latter is it counted in the cost of mass immigration?
    The tone of Leadsom’s letter is that of a Socialist commissar explaining her sticking plaster solution to her government’s own fundamental mess and it culminates in a deperate plea to be seen as a serious government. Really? That ship sailed a long time ago.

  4. Berkshire Alan
    February 14, 2024

    Last year given I could not get a doctors appointment, I went into Wokingham Town to see a Pharmacist about my badly stinging weeping eyes, appointment/assessment needed urgently, as I had a holiday booked for the very next day which involved a 900 mile car journey to the South of France, in which I was the driver.
    Visited the Pharmacy early morning, was seen after a few minutes, diagnosis given, medication prescribed for antibiotic drops and cream, cost £23.00. even though I qualify for free prescriptions.
    Drops administered as required (every 4 hours over a 5 day period) and much improvement made in 24 hours so that I could complete the drive safely.
    So absolutely no complaints whatsoever, excellent service with clearly the right diagnosis for treatment, whilst a little surprised that I was charged for medication, I had absolutely no complaints as I could afford it, but what if I could not have afforded it, would I have had to suffer until I eventually got a Doctors appointment. ?
    Assume only the medical problems listed in your posting are either free of charge/prescription cost only, all other problems will involve a cost of some sort ?

    1. Bloke
      February 15, 2024

      Berkshire Alan:
      The situation you experienced raises an additional important point of alarm.
      The government appears not to have mentioned if those who normally qualify for ‘free prescriptions’ would have to pay for both the prescription and the medication if going direct to the ‘independent’ pharmacist instead of via their GP.
      If they do, that would be a sneaky way of cutting NHS funding. The 7 conditions are common and 60% of patients are exempt from paying, so the sum could be enormous. Does SJR or anybody else know?

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