Intended for healthcare professionals


National scheme to offer emergency hormonal contraception in pharmacies will cut GP workload, say researchers

BMJ 2022; 379 doi: (Published 24 November 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;379:o2832
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

Offering free emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) without prescription from all pharmacies in England could reduce GPs’ workload and improve access for patients, say researchers.

Currently, some community pharmacies in England are commissioned by local authorities to provide EHC free without prescription to women aged 12-55. But researchers from Keele University noted that fewer than half of community pharmacies in England had a service in place, with some local authorities only commissioning the service from a handful of pharmacies in each area.

Their study, published in BMJ Open,1 used routinely recorded data to examine the effect of localised policies on prescribing trends and to assess how extending it to the whole of England could affect this. They concluded that areas where the scheme was well established had seen “a significant influence” on GP prescribing of EHC and that rolling it out nationally through the NHS …

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