Service case study: Devon pharmacy teams help more than 8,000 patients in Pharmacy First scheme (September 2015)

Published on: 3rd September 2015 | Updated on: 28th March 2022

Pharmacy teams in Devon have helped more than 8,000 patients during the first five months of a ‘Pharmacy First’ scheme which brought together three services to make accessing prescription medicines more convenient for patients and help reduce pressure on out of hours services. Patients were not only happy with the service they received, but said that they would also recommend it to others.

Devon LPC and Northern, Eastern and Western (NEW) Devon CCG have published their evaluation of Devon’s Pharmacy First scheme, which included a minor ailments service delivered via a PGD, a winter ailments service and an emergency supply scheme. The services, funded by the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund, were evaluated individually between November 2014 and March 2015 inclusive and the key findings are outlined below.

Pharmacy First evaluation infographicThe Emergency Supply service saw participating pharmacy teams supply 769 different medicines to patients who had run out of their regular medicine, with the most requested item being salbutamol/ Ventolin® inhalers. When asked what they would have done if the service had not been available at their local pharmacy, 53% of patients stated that they would have accessed out-of-hours GP services instead. Devon LPC also reported local pharmacies received twice the national average of referrals from NHS 111.

The Pharmacy First scheme also gave patients a more accessible route to medicines for typical winter illnesses as 45% of patients reported that they would have used urgent care centres or visited their GP without the; Winter Ailments service. This service was the most well-used, accounting for 40% of the total interventions made, with pain relief/antipyretic oral solutions being the medicine type most often supplied.

The Minor Ailments via Patient Group Direction (PGD) service was similarly successful at providing patients with an alternative method of medicine supply. The most popular condition presented to pharmacies was bacterial conjunctivitis, accounting for 56% of all PGD interventions.

Read the Pharmacy First evaluation in full

Mark Stone, Project Pharmacist at Devon LPC, said:

“A BIG THANK YOU from the Devon LPC for all the pharmacy teams that helped drive the success of the Pharmacy First scheme in Devon.

The Pharmacy First services have saved over 4,800 appointments with doctors; 3,790 appointments in General Practice, 1,818 of out of hours GP appointments, and 210 Accident and Emergency appointments. Pharmacy First in Devon has built upon the evidence for the national minor ailments service, and is the first evaluation to show evidence of benefits for the pharmacy emergency repeat service.

Up to July 2015 there have been over 11,000 Pharmacy First consultations, this proves that these services are a natural fit to the pharmacists’ skills and to community pharmacy and hence why they are so successful!”

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