Common Ailments Service 2019

NHSE has served notice – the common ailments service is ending at the end of August 2019.

In line with national guidelines around not prescribing OTC meds for self-limiting conditions, the NHS locally have decided that the common ailments service will end.  It was felt by NHSE that providing OTC medication free of charge on the NHS when GPs are being asked not to prescribe for self-limiting conditions was not appropriate.  Patients will still be advised to speak to their pharmacist for advice but will be asked to purchase OTC remedies rather than expecting them free from the pharmacy nor should they expect to receive them free on prescription.

The 6 Staffordshire CCGs have launched a self-care campaign to spread the message, all community pharmacies and GP practices will have received a pack with an explanatory letter, along with a poster to display.  For those patients who fall outside the product licence for an OTC product you will also find you have a referral pad in this pack.

Common Ailments Service Decommissioning Letter 2019

Pharmacy First Common Ailments Service 2018 – 2020

Pharmacies offering the Pharmacy First Common Ailments Service

The lists below show pharmacies Signed Up to Provide the Service in 2018-19.  Please note these lists include all 4 locally commissioned Pharmacy First Services.  Only those pharmacies which have a tick in the relevant box have a signed SLA lodged with NHSE Shropshire & Staffordshire.

Pharmacy List for Pharmacy First Services August 2018


Service Relaunched from 1st April 2018 – Letter from Andy Pickard and new SLA:

The current SLA for the Pharmacy First Common Ailments Service expires on 31st March 2018, but NHSE North Midlands has agreed to continue to commission this service for a further 2 years across Staffordshire and Shropshire.

If you wish to continue to provide the service, or wish to sign up for the first time, please read through the SLA, and return the signed agreement (found at the back of the SLA) to Andy Pickard as indicated. For branches of the multiple pharmacy groups, please check with your head offices regarding sign-up to the service, as this is generally undertaken centrally.

There have been a number of amendments to the previous SLA which we would like to draw your attention to;

  • Removal of Cystitis protocol – The workgroup considered that provision of treatment for cystitis via the common ailments service conflicted with the preferred treatment path via the UTI PGD service, and hence has been removed as one of the conditions within the service.
  • Emphasis on the role of pharmacy staff to deliver the service – Appropriately trained pharmacy staff under the supervision of a Pharmacist working at participating pharmacies can provide this Enhanced Service if they are clinically competent in the management and treatment of common ailments. The Responsible Pharmacist on duty maintains professional responsibility for the advice and any medication provided, as they do for all over the counter sales of Pharmacy and GSL medicines.
  • Nomination of lead member of staff – It is recommended that within each pharmacy, a lead person is nominated to have responsibility for the day to day running of the service.
  • Service availability – Patients must be able to access the service during all times that the Responsible Pharmacist is on duty, and there is an expectation that a patient is only signposted to another participating pharmacy in exceptional circumstances.
  • Non clinical referrals to GP practicesPatients must only be referred to their GP or other healthcare professional if it is deemed clinically necessary to do so. If you are unable to provide the service from your pharmacy, please signpost the patient to another pharmacy that is able to.
  • Recording on PharmOutcomes – All information relating to the consultation should be recorded at the time of the consultation by inputting the information directly onto PharmOutcomes. From 1st September 2018 use of the paper based proforma (Appendix 5) will not be accepted unless there is an IT failure within the pharmacy.
  • Formulary and protocol updates – Due to some product licencing changes, and alignment with CCG prescribing formularies, there have been changes within a number of the protocols, so please ensure that you familiarise yourself with these.

A list of those pharmacies providing the service is shared with a variety of stakeholders and is updated on a regular basis. Therefore can I please request that if you wish to provide the service from 1st April 2018, that you return the signed agreement form at your earliest opportunity.

As described above the Pharmacy First Common Ailments Service will be relaunched as from 1st April 2018; the details were communicated to pharmacy contractors by  NHS England – a copy of the revised Service Level Agreement (SLA) can be found below. The agreement sign-up form must be returned to Andy Pickard as soon as possible; note if your pharmacy is one of the CCA companies’ branches (Asda, Boots, Lloyds, Rowlands, Well, Superdrug, Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons) then the sign-up form will be completed by your head office or line manager, please check with them BEFORE completing the form yourself.

Pharmacy First Common Ailments letter Mar 2018

Pharmacy 1st Scheme Common Ailments Service Spec 2018 -2020

Recording on PharmOutcomes:

The LPC have produced a series of videos explaining how to use PharmOutcomes to record services.  There are several short videos which can be used by the whole  pharmacy team and also by locums and relief pharmacists to help them understand how the system works and how to use it.

We suggest you start by watching the “Welcome to PharmOutcomes” video followed by “The Services Tab” video.

After that simply select the clip which is relevant to your needs. Simply follow this link to the PharmOutcomes video page

Service Paperwork 2018-2020

Pharmacy 1st Scheme Common Ailments Service Spec 2018 -2020



Pharmacy First Common Ailments Service Patient Consent

List of Common Ailments 2018

Pharmacy First Common Ailments Formulary 2018

Referral Letter to GP / other Health Care Professional from Community Pharmacy

ProForma – please note that although there is a paper ProForma the service MUST be delivered in the consultation room and from September 2018 it is a requirement that all consultations are recorded live except where the pharmacy suffers an IT failure.

Pharmacy First Common Ailments ProForma 2018


Downloadable Follow-Up Advice and Counselling Points – single page to print for patients if required: 

Acute Cough 2018

Bites and Stings Patient Info 2018

Chickenpox Info for Patients 2018

Cold Sore Info for Patients 2018

Common Cold Info for Patients 2018

Conjunctivitis (Acute Bacterial) Info for Patients 2018

Constipation (Acute) Info for Patients 2018

Contact Dermatitis:Atopic Eczema:Dry Skin 2018

Diarrhoea (Acute)  2018

Earache 2018

Fever Management 2018

Fungal Skin Infections 2018

Haemorrhoids 2018

Hay Fever (Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis) 2018

Headache:Migraine 2018

Heartburn : Indigestion 2018

Infant colic 2018

Mouth Ulcers 2018

Nappy rash 2018

Oral Thrush 2018

Scabies 2018

Sore Throat 2018

Sprains and Strains 2018

Teething 2018

Threadworms 2018

Vaginal Thrush 2018

Warts and Verrucae 2018