A Spotlight from Rebecca Glover, member of the AMR Centre

Congratulations to AMR Centre members, who have recently won the evaluation of the new English Pharmacy First programme.

This £2.5 million NIHR-funded evaluation is jointly led by AMR Centre members Dr Rebecca Glover and Professor Nicholas Mays. They are ably supported by Drs Stephen O'Neill, Mirza Lalani, and Agata Pacho, co-investigators at LSHTM. The team will be working with UKHSA, as well as experts at the Universities of Nottingham, Oxford, and Manchester, to conduct a robust, wrap-around evaluation of the new Pharmacy First service.  

Under the Government’s NHS Primary Care Recovery Plan, NHS England launched the Pharmacy First service on the 31st of January 2024. By February 2024, participating pharmacies will be able to supply prescription-only medicines for seven common conditions: earache, uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women, sore throat, sinusitis, impetigo, shingles and infected insect bites, after consultation with a community pharmacist. The services are already being advertised by Boots and other highstreet pharmacies. 

The scheme has been welcomed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, but concerns have been raised that the scheme could result in increased use of antibiotics and subsequent impacts on AMR, and put pressures on pharmacies who are already struggling to deliver a complex array of services. 

Careful evaluation of the scheme and its diverse consequences is therefore of paramount importance. The evaluation team led by LSHTM will pay particular attention to the impact, safety, cost effectiveness and acceptability of these services, as well as any implications for antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance. Throughout the evaluation, the research teams will work closely with co-researchers who are from historically marginalised in research and medically underserved communities.  Moreover, each analysis will contribute to understanding the potential consequences of Pharmacy First for inequalities in access to health services and outcomes. 


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