The first sets of data following the implementation of the NHS Urgent Medicines Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS), reveal variable take up across the country, with localities in the north leading the way. In figures compiled by PharmData from NHS statistics, fees totalling almost £700,000 were paid out to pharmacies across England in the five months to July 2018.
The service, which was implemented as a pilot in 2017, has subsequently been extended twice, for a total of a year, and is now due to run until 31 March. An initial evaluation was positive, but as with any commissioned service, the NHS says it will be looking for demonstrable value for money as well as a positive impact on patient care before extending the service further.
Individual pharmacy data has been grouped, for analysis purposes, according to the geographies of the NHS’s integrated care system (ICS) localities. This reveals average payments for pharmacies in the five months ranging from £220.39 in West, North & East Cumbria, to zero in three localities – Bristol, North Somerset & South Gloucestershire, Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly, and Norfolk & Waveney. Seven ICS localities saw average pharmacy payments in three figures, and 10 where average payments over the five months were less than £10.
The bigger picture
The average figures do not tell the whole story, however. Total payments to pharmacies over the period, according to calculations made by P3pharmacy, totalled in excess of £684,000, with 17 ICS localities recording payments in excess of £10,000 over five months. In four of those localities, all in the north of England – Cheshire & Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire & South Cumbria and West Yorkshire – total payments topped £50,000.
Money for the service comes from the Pharmacy Integration Fund which is being used to test and evaluate the national pilot. NHS England has budgeted £2m for the pilot based on NHS111 call volumes and estimated referral rates.
Maps show average payments per pharmacy based on ICS locality, and total payments in each locality, banded for illustrative purposes.
Both show a significant early take off for the service in the North of England, which may be worthy of further investigation. The tables contain the top five localities in each case.
Table 1: NUMSAS payments top 5 locations, average per pharmacy, five months to July 2018
|West, North & East Cumbria||£220.39|
|Durham, Darlington, Teeside, Hambledon, Richmondshire & Whitby||£144.85|
|Lancashire & South Cumbria||£141.27|
|Cheshire & Merseyside||£138.30|
|Northumberland, Tyne & Wear & North Durham||£113.64|
Table 2: NUMSAS payments top 5 locations, total by ICS locality, five months to July 2018
|Cheshire & Merseyside||£82,000|
|Lancashire & South Cumbria||£56,000|
|Northumberland, Tyne & Wear & North Durham||£42,000|