Community Pharmacy Key Facts and Policies

Community pharmacists are easily accessible with over 11,700 community pharmacies in England located where people live, shop and work.

We have 227 Pharmacies in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

The latest information shows that:

  • 89% of the population in England has access to a community pharmacy within a 20 minute walk;
  • Over 99% of those in areas of highest deprivation are within a 20 minute walk of a community pharmacy; and
  • As the accessibility of community pharmacies is greatest in areas of higher deprivation, they may have an important role to play in reducing inequalities.

Community pharmacy is consequently a socially inclusive healthcare service providing a convenient and less formal environment for those who cannot easily access or do not choose to access other kinds of health service. Most pharmacies now have a private consultation area specifically for confidential or sensitive discussions.

Helping you get the most out of your medicines 

The pharmacy contract has prompted the installation of private consultation areas in most pharmacies where patients can freely discuss sensitive issues, safe in the knowledge that they will not be overheard by other members of the public. These private areas are also used to conduct a national pharmacy service called Medicines Use Reviews (MURs). An MUR is a consultation between the pharmacist and a patient that lasts approximately 10-20 minutes. It provides an opportunity for the patient to discuss how they use their medicines and to find out more about them; and the service is designed to supplement (and not replace) the more in depth clinical reviews that are conducted at GP practices.

Since the introduction of MURs there has been a steady increase in the number of pharmacies offering the service to their patients. In 2012/13 2.8 million MURs were provided in England.

Another NHS service which is provided by most pharmacies is called the New Medicine Service (NMS). The service is for people who have received their first prescription for a medicine to treat any of the following conditions:

  • asthma
  • lung conditions such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema
  • type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • conditions where you take a medicine to control the way your blood clots.

Between 30% and 50% of prescribed medicines are not taken as recommended. This means that a lot of medicines are wasted or are not as effective as they could be. The service will:

  • help you to find out more about the new medicine you are taking
  • help to sort out any problems you are having with your new medicine
  • give you a chance to ask questions about your medicine and discuss any concerns
  • help to improve the effectiveness of your new medicine, for example, there may be an easier or better way to take it
  • help you to make your own decisions about managing your condition
  • help you to improve your health, which could lead to fewer GP and hospital visits.

Ask at your community pharmacy for more information about this service.


Local Services

As well as national services provided by all pharmacies, the pharmacy contract also includes services that are commissioned at a local level by the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Local Authority (LA) or NHS England. There are many different services that are operating throughout the country, reflecting the varying needs in different areas.

Examples of such services In LLR  include:

  • Emergency out of hours services to provide special medicines for the terminally ill;
  • Emergency hormonal contraception services to reduce the incidence of unwanted teenage pregnancy;
  • Screening services (e.g. for diabetes, Chlamydia, high blood pressure etc.);
  • Minor Ailments Services to reduce waiting times in GP practices;
  • Stop smoking service
  • Supervising consumption of Methadone and provision of Needle Exchange Schemes for drug users.


Other Services we Provide 

The NHS Community Pharmacy contract for England and Wales was introduced in 2005. Under the contract your community pharmacy will provide the following Essential Services:

  • The Dispensing Service – working to a prescription, pharmacists will provide you with your medicines labelled correctly following the directions of a GP or other healthcare provider who can write prescriptions (e.g. nurses, dentists or pharmacists). The number of prescription items dispensed by community pharmacies in England in 2011-12 was 885 million.
  • The Repeat Dispensing Service – this service allows you to collect your regular repeat prescription medicines direct from your local pharmacy for an agreed period of time, without having to go back to your GP. You will need to give your permission to your GP for him/her to share information with your chosen pharmacist. When you need your prescription, instead of requesting it from your GP, you will be able to get your medicines directly from your local pharmacy.
  • Disposal of Unwanted Medicines – if you have any medicines that you no longer use, you can take them to your local pharmacy for safe disposal.
  • Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles – this service will provide you with advice on keeping healthy; this could be advice on healthy eating, stopping smoking and exercise. You may be able to get leaflets and written information to help you make healthier choices. Your pharmacy will also take part in local health promotion campaigns such as taking care in the sun and understanding the risks of long term conditions such as diabetes.
  • Signposting to other Services – your pharmacy will provide you with contact details for additional help if needed from other healthcare professionals, social services or voluntary organisations.
  • Support for Self-Care – this service helps you to look after and care for yourself and your family. Your pharmacy will provide you with advice on treating minor illnesses, e.g. coughs and colds or long term conditions such as arthritis or diabetes. This support may include medicines which you can buy over the counter from the pharmacy without a prescription.

Further details of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework are outlined in NHS Community Pharmacy – a summary.

Further useful local information is provided in the following two documents:

Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment ( for Leicester City, Leicestershire County and Rutland)

Healthcare Landscape

PSNC have published information on policies and publications on the healthcare landscape including STPs; Vanguards, Primary care networks, Pharmacy integration, Medicines Value programme and Briefings


The value of Community Pharmacy 

Community pharmacies contributed a net value of £3 billion to the NHS, public sector, patients and wider society in England in 2015 through just 12 services, according to a Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) study released today.

This means that community pharmacies deliver substantially more in benefits than they receive in compensation, providing excellent value to the Department of Health.

The study, which was commissioned by PSNC following the Government’s proposals to reduce community pharmacy funding, analysed the value to the NHS, public sector organisations, patients and wider society of 12 services across public health, self-care support and medicines support.

Services analysed included supervised consumption, emergency hormonal contraception provision, minor ailments, delivering prescriptions and managing drug shortages.

Pharmacies made more than 150 million interventions through the services in 2015 and there was a benefit of more than £250,000 per pharmacy or £54.61 for every resident of England.

Breaking the combined contribution down into the areas which are benefitting, it was found that:

  • The NHS received a net value of £1,352 million, including cash savings as a result of cost efficiencies, and avoided NHS treatment costs;
  • Other public sector bodies (e.g. local authorities) and wider society together received over £1 billion through increased output, avoided deaths and reduced pressure on other services such as social care and justice; and
  • Patients received around £600 million, mainly in the form of reduced travel time to alternative NHS settings.

The report concludes that from these services alone, community pharmacy contributed an in-year benefit of £3 billion in 2015, with a further £1.9 billion expected to accrue over the next 20 years.

The expected amount of public sector spending saved directly as a result of the 12 services analysed in the report is enough, by itself, to offset the entire amount of public funding provided for community pharmacy in 2015. The benefits of all other pharmacy services not covered by the analysis, such as the NHS prescription service, can therefore be seen as additional net benefits of community pharmacy.

The report demonstrates the value of community pharmacy at a crucial time and PwC concludes that it is important to robustly assess the significance of any proposed changes to the support and delivery of these services.

The PwC reports are available to download and read:

Key facts around Community Pharmacy Value are also available from PSNC: