NMS – updated service spec and Directions published

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) have today (1st September 2021) published an updated draft* version of the New Medicine Service (NMS) service specification.

The updated service specification reflects the expansion of the service, which was one of the agreed outcomes from negotiations for Year 3 of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework.

Download the updated NMS service specification

Following the amendment of the Secretary of State Directions, community pharmacy contractors that fully meet the requirements for provision of the NMS can start provision of the expanded service on 1st September 2021. This includes support for patients newly prescribed medication from the full list of conditions (including the newly added conditions / therapy area), as well as provision of the catch-up NMS service.

The Directions now permit contractors who have received an exemption from the requirement to have a consultation room (due to their premises size) from their regional NHSE&I team to provide the service remotely or at the patient’s home. All other contractors providing the service can similarly continue to provide the service remotely, where appropriate, and in the patient’s home.

A copy of the Secretary of State Directions, which provide the legal basis for provision of the service is available from the NHS Business Services Authority website.

Contractors should read the updated draft service specification before providing the extended and catch-up service.

* The service specification is currently working its way through the NHSE&I publication approval process and the final version will be published shortly.


The cap on the number of NMS which can be provided by contractors has been increased from 0.5 percent to one percent of monthly prescription volume and additional bandings included. Contractors should review the Drug Tariff to confirm their new caps and funding bands to ensure they are aware of the changes and can maximise the number of patients they can support using the service.

Read the Drug Tariff determination

Catch-up NMS

The temporary introduction of catch-up NMS allows contractors to offer patients who were prescribed a new, eligible medicine (including from the expanded conditions) during the COVID-19 pandemic, but who did not receive the NMS at that time, additional support.

The catch-up service may be offered to eligible patients between 1st September 2021 and 31st March 2022.

Further information on the catch-up service is available in the service specification.

Additional information, guidance and resources on the NMS can be found via our NMS hub page.

Commenting on the publication of the documents, PSNC Director of NHS Services, Alastair Buxton, said:

“The completion of the regulatory changes means pharmacy teams can begin offering the support of the extended NMS and the catch-up NMS to eligible patients from 1st September 2021.

“These supportive conversations with patients can improve the self-management of patients’ long term conditions and reduce the burden on the NHS associated with non-adherence to prescribed medicines.

“As the NHS seeks to recover from the impact of the pandemic, contractor’s provision of the catch-up element of the service will help support achieving the best outcomes for patients that may have missed out on this support as a consequence of the pandemic restrictions.

“We welcome the additional opportunities the extended service will bring to continue to show how community pharmacists and their teams can further enhance the care of patients taking newly prescribed medicines.”


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