Understanding the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework

6 min

Understanding the Community Pharmacy Contractual FrameworkThe Community Pharmacy Contractual...

James Mann

By James Mann

Understanding the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework

The Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) is an agreement between the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), NHS England, and Community Pharmacy England (CPE). Set up in July 2019, it provides £2.59 billion of funding annually to fund NHS pharmacy services in England.

Want to know more about the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework? Then this comprehensive guide is just meant for you. Dive into the world of community pharmacies as the guide explores this vital healthcare hub's framework, types, history, and significance. Read on.

Defining Community Pharmacy: A Pillar of Public Health

Community pharmacy, also known as retail pharmacy, can be defined as the most common type of pharmacy across the UK. It typically provides easy and quick access to the general public to their medications and also gives them advice about their health. These pharmacies usually function on a walk-in basis, and data states that  89% of the population in the United Kingdom can access a community pharmacy within a 20-minute walk.

Not surprisingly, community pharmacies are now an integral part of the NHS. It is estimated that every day about 1.6 million people visit a pharmacy in the UK. Community pharmacies, along with General Practice, optical services, and dentistry, form the four pillars of the healthcare system in England.  

Community pharmacies can be commonly seen on high streets, neighborhood centers, supermarkets, and, especially, in the center of the most underprivileged communities or in rural settings. Many of them remain open for the public long after other healthcare professionals go off duty. Additionally, community pharmacies now no longer merely dispense medicines prescribed by doctors. That traditional role is undergoing a sea change now. In recent years, community pharmacies have also been offering clinical services to allow a more seamless integration with the rest of the NHS.

A community pharmacy employs several professionals, including registered pharmacists, registered pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy assistants, in addition to managerial and administrative staff.

Exploring Types of Community Pharmacies

There are different types of community pharmacies currently in operation across the UK. They collectively serve the healthcare needs of their local areas in collaboration with the NHS.

Let's explore the defining features of each main community pharmacy type.

  1. Essential Small Pharmacies

Often located in limited-access areas, these Essential Small Pharmacies are community pharmacies that form the smaller independent or small chain pharmacies across the UK. They are usually limited in their offering of clinical services although they also receive the standard NHS Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework funding to provide core services like dispensing prescriptions and giving health advice to the general population.

These small pharmacies are often the sole primary care services providers in many regions and form the backbone of community healthcare provision.

  1. Large Retail Chain Pharmacies

Think Boots, Superdrug- these are large retail pharmacy chains at the other end of the spectrum and offer a wider range of services that go beyond dispensing medicines alone. These large chains are also involved in sharing reviews of the latest medicines and drugs that hit the market, offer flu vaccinations, and carry out public health interest drives like stop-smoking programs.

To attract maximum footfall, many large retail pharmacies can be found within convenience stores or supermarkets, thereby increasing commercial revenues beyond NHS pharmacy contracts.

  1. 100-hour Pharmacies

To ensure that healthcare is provided on weekends and in the evenings, the NHS has made provisions for 100-hour Pharmacies. It has funded over 3,000 community pharmacies in England to open for extended “100-hour” opening times. These pharmacies provide pharmacy services to patients when GP surgeries are typically closed. While catering to those who could need pharmacy support at times when no GP is available, the 100-Hour Pharmacies also reduce pressure on other urgent care services.

  1. Healthy Living Pharmacies

Going beyond their traditional role are some community pharmacies that have achieved the Healthy Living Pharmacy (HLP) status, awarded by the NHS. HLP-accredited pharmacies are public health leaders, offering additional health and well-being services like weight management, alcohol advice, and sexual health services. HLPs aim at the holistic health of patients.

The Vital Role of Community Pharmacies in Healthcare

Community pharmacies are often the first healthcare facility that patients visit for minor ailments or when they are seeking advice on self-care. With their formidable knowledge of medicine, community pharmacies advise patients with acute or even chronic conditions and are playing a growing role in the UK’s primary health care system.

The importance of community pharmacies can be seen in the fact that they are also actively promoting healthy lifestyle choices, such as the right diet, balanced nutrition, daily physical activity, stress management, and adequate sleep. Patients can also walk into a community pharmacy for periodic health screening such as getting their blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes checks done. 

In conclusion, community pharmacies are the most frequented healthcare facilities in the UK and play a vital role in the continued healthcare for patients across diverse locations and communities. 

Quad Recruitment UK: Helping You Get an Edge Over Your Rivals!

Seeking a career in community pharmacy? That’s a great choice as it opens up a lot of avenues for career growth and advancement. As the aging population continues to increase and health issues are on the rise, the need for quick and easy access to medical advice and intervention has become all the more crucial, making a career in community pharmacy very rewarding and lucrative. 

Quad Recruitment UK is here to give you a head start over the competition as we connect you with top community pharmacies and recruiters. Leverage our experience of decades to ace that interview and land your dream job! Get hired today!