Health Technologies

How IT can deliver the time and support that pharmacy needs to deliver new services

Pharmacy First could pave the way for pharmacy to become the backbone of primary care in England – but pharmacists will need investment and support to deliver.

Clanwilliam is committed to making the scheme a success and is investing in the technology solutions that will be required, says Jon Williams, product owner of RxWeb.  

We all know the healthcare system is under enormous pressure, and the only way to alleviate that pressure in a sustainable way is to address it at source.  

If we collectively want to reduce pressure on GPs, out-of-hours services, and EDs, we need to re-think our service touchpoints, so patients don’t just access care faster, but obtain the advice and care they need earlier.  

One of those key touchpoints is pharmacy, which has the potential to become the backbone of primary care in the UK and to provide valued advice and support to patients, while continuing in its traditional role as a trusted supplier of medicines.  

 The UK government has started to recognise this potential.

Over the past few years, it has turned to pharmacies to deliver vaccinations and basic health checks, alongside other primary care providers.

Then, at the start of the year, it took a big step forward with the launch of Pharmacy First in England.  

Pharmacy First is a huge opportunity: but pharmacy is under pressure   

Pharmacy First enables pharmacies to supply over the counter and prescription medicines for seven common conditions (sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bites, the bacterial skin infection impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated UTIs in women).  

However, that simple description understates the importance of the scheme, which could pave the way for pharmacy to become the first port of call for primary care in the UK. 

The challenge is that pharmacies are also under pressure. A survey for a recent ITV Tonight investigation found that 48 per cent of the 980 pharmacists who responded were worried they wouldn’t have the capacity to deliver Pharmacy First.  

More than 400 pharmacies have closed every year for the past four years, and that is pushing a lot of additional work onto those that are left.



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