Key terms used in community pharmacy

Published on: 25th June 2019 | Updated on: 1st May 2024

The world of pharmacy and the NHS is constantly evolving, with new acronyms, and names for services and systems emerging on a regular basis. It can be difficult to keep up with the acronyms and many of them look and sound similar to each other. Community Pharmacy England has compiled the below list of acronyms that are commonly used in community pharmacy and NHS policy.

This page will be updated regularly.

Click on a heading below to view a list of acronyms:


Acronym Meaning
ABPI Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry
AHSN Academic Health Science Network
AIMp/AIM (now known as IPA) Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies
AIV Average Item Value
APPG All-Party Pharmacy Group
APTUK Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK
AUR Appliance Use Review
BNF British National Formulary
CAS Central Alerting System
CAS Clinical Assessment Services
CCA Company Chemists’ Association
CCG Clinical Commissioning Group
CD Controlled Drug
CEV Clinically Extremely Vulnerable
CG Clinical Governance
CIS Care Identity Service
CPAF Community Pharmacy Assurance Framework
CPCF Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework
CPCS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service
CPD Continuing Professional Development
CPFV Community Pharmacy Forward View
CPN Community Pharmacy News
CPNI Community Pharmacy Northern Ireland
CPPE Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education
CPPQ Community Pharmacy Patient Questionnaire
CPS Community Pharmacy Scotland
CPW Community Pharmacy Wales
CQC Care Quality Commission
CSU Commissioning Support Unit
DDA Disability Discrimination Act 1995
DHSC Department of Health and Social Care
DM+D Dictionary of Medicines and Devices
DMIRS Digital Minor Illness Referral Service
DMS Discharge Medicines Service
DoC Declaration of Competence
DoS Directory of Services
DSP Distance Selling Pharmacy
DSP toolkit Data Security & Protection toolkit
DT Drug Tariff
EHC Emergency Hormonal Contraception
EPS Electronic Prescription Service
eRD Electronic Repeat Dispensing
ESP Essential Small Pharmacies
FMD Falsified Medicines Directive
FTP Fitness to Practise


Acronym Meaning
LA Local Authority
LASA Look-Alike Sound-Alike
LES Local Enhanced Service 
LFD Lateral Flow Devices
LFPSE Learn From Patient Safety Events
LPC Local Pharmaceutical Committee
LPN Local Professional Network
LPS Local Pharmaceutical Services
LSA Local Smartcard Administrator
LVS Local Vaccination Services
MDS Monitored Dosage System
MECC Making Every Contact Count
MHRA Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
MSO Medication Safety Officer 
MUR Medicines Use Review
MYS Manage Your Service
NAPC National Association of Primary Care
NCSO No Cheaper Stock Obtainable
NES National Enhanced Service
NHS LTP NHS Long Term Plan
NHSBSA NHS Business Services Authority
NHSE NHS England
NHS SPS NHS Specialist Pharmacy Service 
NIB National Information Board
NICE National Institute for Health and Care Excellence 
NIHR National Institute for Health Research
NMS New Medicine Service 
NPA National Pharmacy Association
NPSA National Patient Safety Agency
NRLS National Reporting and Learning System 
NUMSAS NHS Urgent Medicine Supply Advanced Service
ODN Operational Delivery Network
ODS Organisation Data Service
OHID Office for Health Improvement and Disparities
OOH Out of Hours
PAGB Proprietary Association of Great Britain
PCN Primary Care Network
PCN Penalty Charge Notice
PCN DES PCN Directed Enhanced Service
PCS Pharmacy Contraception Service
PCSE Primary Care Support England
PEPS Pharmacy Earlier Payment Scheme
PGD Patient Group Direction
PhAS Pharmacy Access Scheme
PHE Public Health England
PhIF Pharmacy Integration Fund
PMR Patient Medication Record
PNA Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment
PPC Prescription Prepayment Certificate
PPE Personal Protective Equipment
PQS Pharmacy Quality Scheme (formerly Quality Payments Scheme)
PTP Pandemic Treatment Protocols
PWID People Who Inject Drugs


Healthcare who’s who

The health and care landscape has always been complicated to understand, and changes to the NHS architecture seem to happen on a fairly regular basis, sometimes introducing new bodies and service commissioners that community pharmacy must engage with.

The links below will take you to website pages describing the role of the main bodies in the healthcare landscape.

Resources for LPCs and pharmacy teams

NHS England published Understanding the new NHS – A guide for everyone working and training within the NHS in June 2014.  This brief booklet was written by five doctors in training and it outlines the organisations, systems and processes that define, sustain and regulate the NHS. As such the document provides a quick guide for community pharmacy teams that want to refresh their knowledge of how the NHS works.

The Department of Health and Social Care’s Guide to the Healthcare System in England is an alternative resource which describes the healthcare system and the main bodies which operate within it. It will be a useful educational/CPD resource for pharmacy contractors, pharmacists and pre-registration students.

The King’s Fund – Animation – How does the NHS in England work? (Oct 2017)

National leadership bodies
Commissioners and local organisations
Regulators and public voice
Health policy commentators, think tanks and charities

The links below are for the websites of organisations that regularly issue policy documents or other materials on health policy issues.

King’s Fund

Nuffield Trust

The Health Foundation

NHS Confederation

Other bodies

See also our List of organisations related with pharmacy IT

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