National Urgent Medicine Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS)


National Urgent Medicine Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS) – will be directed to the PSNC website

Update:  NHS England announced that NUMSAS would continue to be commissioned for a further six months beyond the end of March; therefore the service will be running until the end of September 2019. 

NUMSAS provider update March 2019

The objectives of the service are to:

  • manage appropriately NHS 111 requests for urgent medicine supply;
  • reduce demand on the rest of the urgent care system;
  • resolve problems leading to patients running out of their medicines; and
  • increase patients’ awareness of electronic repeat dispensing.

Service description and background

Requests for medicines needed urgently account for about 2% of all completed NHS 111 calls . These calls normally default to a GP appointment to arrange an urgent prescription and as a result block access to GP appointments for patients with greater clinical need.

Although requests for emergency repeat medication occur throughout the week, Saturdays generate the highest demand.

The national Emergency Supply Audit conducted by community pharmacies in 2015 has informed the development and design of this pilot service.

NHS England is commissioning this national NHS Urgent Medicine Supply Advanced Service pilot (‘the service’), via referral from NHS 111, in order to reduce the burden on urgent and emergency care services of handling urgent medication requests, whilst ensuring patients have access to the medicines or appliances they need.

In an emergency and at the request of a patient, a pharmacist can supply a prescription only medicine (POM) without a prescription to a patient who has previously been prescribed the requested POM; these ‘emergency supplies’ are made under the provisions and requirements of Regulations 225, 253 and Schedules 18 and 23 of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 (HMR) , which are set out in Annex A. They include a requirement that the pharmacist has interviewed the person requesting the POM and is satisfied that there is an immediate need for it to be supplied and that it is impracticable in the circumstances for the patient to obtain a prescription without undue delay.

Patients contacting NHS 111 to request access to urgently needed medicines or appliances will be referred to a pharmacy that is providing this service for assessment and potentially the supply of a medicine or appliance previously prescribed for that patient on a NHS prescription, where the pharmacist deems that the requirements of HMR are met, e.g. the patient has immediate need for the medicine or appliance and that it is impractical to obtain a prescription without undue delay. For the purposes of this service, any medicine or appliance that has previously been prescribed to the patient on an NHS prescription can be supplied as long as the requirements of the HMR are met; where the HMR refers specifically to a POM the same requirements are made for medicines or appliances that are not a POM.

The NHS Urgent Medicines Supply Advanced Service Pilot will commence from 1 December 2016 and run until 31 March 2018. An evaluation of the service will be undertaken as part of the pilot.

Aims and intended outcomes of the service

To appropriately manage NHS 111 requests for urgent supply of medicines and appliances.

To reduce demand on the rest of the urgent care system, particularly GP Out of Hours (OOHs) providers.

To identify problems that lead to individual patients running out of their regular medicines or appliances and to recommend potential solutions that could prevent this happening in the future.

To increase patients’ awareness of the electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD) Service.

To ensure equity of access to the emergency supply provision irrespective of the patient’s ability to pay for the cost of the medicines or appliances supplied