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Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee

General News

Bradford and Airedale pharmacies see EHC service extended

Pharmacies in Bradford and Airedale have seen their local NHS emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) service extended to include the option to dispense ellaOne mid-cycle, for use when unprotected sexual intercourse has occurred around the time of ovulation.

The move by NHS Bradford and Airedale means pharmacies can now offer the same choice of treatments as other local providers of sexual health services such as the BASH service (Bradford and Airedale Sexual Health service) and GPs.

It also means that the window of opportunity for pharmacists to treat women following unprotected sexual intercourse has increased by 48 hours – previously the only treatment available to them had been Levonelle, which can only be supplied up to 72 hours following unprotected sexual intercourse.

Local LPC Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire has been working closely with NHS Bradford and Airedale from the outset on the service extension and reports that the partnership has been very successful. It has included the provision of joint training, LPC input into the Patient Group Direction (PGD) and the development of service delivery guides and paperwork.

Pharmacies are offering ellaOne as part of a comprehensive sexual health service which requires additional pharmacist training. ellaOne has been introduced to the pharmacy service with the aim of reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and reducing teenage pregnancy rates.

As part of the service women receive the information they need to make an informed choice about emergency contraception including the use, and low failure rate, of intra-uterine devices for emergency contraception. The consultation will also include discussions regarding ongoing contraception options, safer sex and sexual health screening.

PSNC Head of NHS Services Alastair Buxton said: "NHS Emergency Hormonal Contraception services delivered by community pharmacies are well-used where they are available so it is good to see these remaining a priority for local health commissioners. With so much uncertainty around local health services at the moment it is also heartening to see that in some areas LPCs’ hard work is paying off and pharmacy services are still being developed and expanded.”

Dr Anne Connolly, lead GP for sexual health in Bradford and Airedale, said: “This allows our pharmacists to improve the emergency contraceptive service they offer, bringing the service into line with the latest national recommendations. This will improve the care for women requiring emergency contraception and improve access as many pharmacies are open into the evenings and over the weekends.”

Judith Collins, community pharmacist at Cohens Pharmacy, added: “I am very pleased to be able to offer the most appropriate emergency hormonal contraception as part of the sexual health service I provide for my community. Having the service available in a convenient environment, without need of an appointment and free of charge, is such a valuable way to allow young women to rapidly access emergency contraception when they need it.”

Posted 27 January 2013

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